Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
In 1973 Congress declared Aug. 26 Women’s Equality Day to commemorate passage of the 19th Amendment, women’s right to vote, and as a symbol of the continued fight for equal rights for women. Women celebrate Aug. 26 and the fight continues.
When the Constitution was adopted, “We the People of the United States…” did not include women. Not until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870 granting freed slaves the right to vote were just male former slaves allowed to vote, and we know that the fight on voter suppression of people of color continues today.
At the 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, the movement for the vote began its 72-year sojourn. It was first introduced in Congress in 1878 at the behest of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Opposition to voting by women was widespread and the amendment did not see the light of day again until 1914. While the American women’s voting rights movement consisted mainly of civil disobedience, many of the women were arrested, imprisoned, beaten, hung by their thumbs, fed worms and force-fed. In May 1919, two-thirds of Congress voted in favor of the 19th Amendment; it was sent to the states for ratification, and ratified in August 1920. Then as now, those opposing women’s rights tried to stop it.
Today women are still fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment granting women full legal equality, formally added to the rights and protections of the Constitution. Numerous Supreme Court cases over the years have proven that women are not provided protections under the Constitution, despite the fact that protections have been provided to corporations.
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century women still have to fight to correct their omission from the Constitution and be considered full citizens.
ERA Task Force AZ