By Isabella Brady
On June 4, 1919, Congress passed an imperative right of the United States legislature; the 19th Amendment. With apparent political bias, women were the latest segment deprived of this basic human right in the United States–50 years after the 14th Amendment of 1870, which promoted African American men’s voting rights. Formally ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment provides women with the legal capacity to vote. In response, women exercised political momentum, gathering in the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and taking strides in the women’s suffrage movement.
While legalizing the women’s vote proves a pivotal point in the United States as a country, it was an action decades in the making. Ideology was originally pursued before the Civil War, the creation of two separate organizations in 1869 led by significant figures Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the second Lucy Stone and Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, challenged current beliefs for equal rights, proper citizenship, and representation of women in society. Acting in defiance, suffrage parades, protests–in Susan B. Anthony’s case, illegally voting with 14 others–and other forms of revolt often placed women in custody.
In a mere 100 years, an average of five generations of women have passed with the fundamental right of voting in the United States. However, 100 years lack the accounting for voting rights of Native American citizens and immigrants, granted in 1924. In the eyes of current society, the incarceration of women in the United States appears incredulous, one place remains throughout the world, where women have no legal voting availability; Vatican City, a private city-state of Italy, spanning over roughly two miles of land. However, the United States, trailing Britain by two years, was neither the first nor the last to legalize women’s suffrage. On a global scale, New Zealand was first to alleviate the stigma on women’s voting rights in 1893, with Saudi Arabia most recently as of 2015.
The vast majority of women can vote in legal terms, however, legality proves not the only basis for the condemnation of women’s rights. Women of the United States and particularly of global countries such as Uganda experience discouragement and threats for utilizing their civic duties. For 100’s of years women’s voting rights in the United States were suppressed, encourage others–do not suppress your own! With the sacrifice and continuous battle for equality, the upcoming election holds affirmations of growth as a country, and an immense opportunity for women of age to be heard in the election and vote for those who are silenced everywhere.