Women’s Equality Goes Beyond the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

February 18, 2021

business history

COVID’s devastation affected the world’s way of life including many of us in the United States who wanted to showcase the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. It is shameful it took over seventy years to enact women’s suffrage, including overcoming a horrid 1875 Supreme Court ruling (Minor v. Hapersetts) in which the Court ruled that although Hapersett was a female Missouri citizen, “The constitutionally protected privilege of citizenship did not includec her right to vote!” Prejudice is not easily overcome.

The 1922 Cable Act reversed immigration laws that had women who married foreigners forcibly lose their US citizenship and instead take on the foreign citizenship of their husbands! Notably, Asian were not able to be U. S. citizens, so this act did not protect women who married them! It would take decades longer for women of color to truly be given the right to vote . Yet when they did, they played a critical role in electing our current President Biden and Vice President Harris, the first woman, the first woman of Indian and Black heritage.

The battle for women’s suffrage had to overcome arguments such as the vote would ‘vulgarize women’ and it would be far better to “refine men.” Reverend Peters of Baltimore argued with women’s suffrage, women might not depend on men anymore and they might even become police officers! What a thought. You need to read this to fully appreciate the thinking then.

While to many of us today, these ideas seem inconceivable, they weren’t and they may remain among some today. Surely we need to applaud those suffragists, who doggedly persisted, but also people like Martha Matilda Harper who understood that the true path for women’s equality also required economic empowerment to provide choice. The mantle for full equality now turns to us.

COVID has spotlighted the inequity in our society. History awaits our ongoing active commitment including passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, accessible quality childcare, affordable healthcare, women’s control over their bodies, and decent employment opportunities. Let’s not wait another 100 years.

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