March is women’s history month.
In 2016, for the first time in American history, a woman, Hillary Clinton, was nominated as the Presidential candidate for a major American political party. Since the presidential election, more than 500 women have signed up nation-wide to run for political office.
As the saying goes, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
In the 1820s and 30s most U. S. states had extended the right to vote to all white American males, regardless of property ownership or financial status. It would take women another 100 years to achieve that same status, thanks in large part to suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who fought for the right to vote.
Wyoming was the first state in America to offer women that right. In 1869 Wyoming was still a territory; it passed a law stating that any woman who had reached the age of 21 and resided in the territory may vote. Today it’s known as the “equality state.”
50 years later America caught up with Wyoming and granted all women the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 26, 1920.
November 2nd of that year marked the first time that more than 8 million women across the United States voted in elections.
The fight for the ballot box was a hard fought battle for many women.
This month we acknowledge the accomplishments of all women, but especially those who fought so hard to allow women a voice in their government and an opportunity to have our voices heard at the ballot box.
The Chesapeake Public Library system has many books and movies on voting, voting rights, and famous American suffragists, available here. Check out books like:
Want to register to vote in Virginia or update your registration? Visit the Virginia Department of Elections at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation