By Martha B.

Each year March brings Women’s History Month. What better way to celebrate this year than by recognizing those women who 100 years ago worked tirelessly towards securing the “right-to-vote” for females in America. The Suffragettes’ outstanding accomplishments resulted in the passing of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. This act secured the right-to-vote for adult women citizens.

Last summer a bronze statue of three Suffragettes –Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony– was placed in New York’s Central Park. This symbolic work of art shows them working together at the same table to secure the vote for women. It is said to be the first statue of “real” women in the park (i.e. not counting the statue of Mother Goose!) By the way, I have a particular interest in the Suffragettes since Elizabeth Cady Stanton and I share a common ancestor.

Needless to say, these were not the only women behind the movement for equal voting rights. The movement had representation across age, race, and ethnicity. One of the lesser-known, but very effective, Suffragettes was a New Yorker named Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, a woman of Chinese ancestry.

The United States was not among the first countries to allow women the right to vote. In fact the struggle here was quite acrimonious. Some people thought that it was unnecessary to give the vote to married women since they would vote the way in which their husbands advised them; others said that giving women the vote would “mark the decline of the family.” To that, the Suffragettes countered by contending that women’s political involvement would rather “bring domestic expertise to issues of public concern.”

The evening International Neighbors Film Group watched the short film “A Woman’s Right to Vote.”

https://yubanet.com/life/a-womans-right-to-vote-new-film-traces-struggle-behind-19th-amendment/

Afterwards, we held a discussion based on the movie. We talked about when, if, and how women had earned the right to vote in each of our members’ home countries. We found out that, in some of group members’ home countries, both women and men earned the voting privilege at the same time. In others, men and women were granted the right at different times. (but never women before men!) In a few countries the right to vote was granted to all adult citizens at the moment the country was formed.

Do you know when women in your country earned this civic privilege? For a good source on when women got voting rights in 25 different countries, please check this informative link:

Afterwards, we held a discussion based on the movie. We talked about when, if, and how women had earned the right to vote in each of our members’ home countries. We found out that, in some of group members’ home countries, both women and men earned the voting privilege at the same time. In others, men and women were granted the right at different times. (but never women before men!) In a few countries the right to vote was granted to all adult citizens at the moment the country was formed.

Do you know when women in your country earned this civic privilege? For a good source on when women got voting rights in 25 different countries, please check this informative link: https://www.insider.com/when-women-around-the-world-got-the-right-to-vote-2019-2

Take the time in this Women’s History Month to remember a strong woman who made a difference in your life and, if she is still able to be reached, don’t forget to thank her!