It's crazy to think that women were given the right to vote only a century ago. Even though our nation still has some major flaws when it comes to equality, women have been making great strides of progress when it comes to politics. The 2020 race, although still a year away, holds the record-breaking number of women attempting to break through the glass ceiling of the political world.
For the first time in our nation's history, six women entered the race, five of whom are still current contenders. Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson are all currently running in the current election, all of whom are running as Democrats.
Salisbury University's women's history professor Dr. Kara French understands the importance that the current election holds and describes it as a milestone for all women, not only to those running for presidency.
"I would definitely say, to echo Hillary Clinton, that the presidency is the ultimate glass ceiling. It is my hope that when a woman is elected president, that will make it easier everywhere for women to aspire to leadership roles," French stated.
French is also aware of the unfortunate replies that will come from a woman getting elected as president.
"I am sure there would still be those among her opponents that would try to smear her because of her gender. For example, President Obama’s election did not erase racism overnight, and I don’t think having a female president would erase sexism overnight, either," she said. "However, I am confident that after taking office, the majority of Americans would judge her on her policies and job performance and not her gender."
In order to fully appreciate the weight of this election, it's important to understand the past events surrounding the fight for women's suffrage. The following is a timeline highlighting some of the key events throughout history.
The first women's rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York.
The first National Women's Rights Convention takes place in Worcester, Massachusetts. More than 1,000 women attend the convention.
Congress ratifies the 15th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
The Women’s Suffrage Amendment is first introduced to Congress.
The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is signed into law.
Of course, there are many other events and women during this time that deserve to be acknowledged, and I could easily go on and on. However, it's difficult to summarize what are considered "key" events when all the events taken place during this time held importance in history.
It's easy to overlook the long fight women have endured for equality, since today we live in a country that appears to give equal opportunity to all. Why should we care about the past if the present is livable? We should care because there are still deeply rooted issues in our nation, specifically toward inequality around race, class and gender. We should also care because as the pictures below indicate, history tends to repeat itself.
These two photos were taken decades apart, yet they both represent the inequalities and injustices women and minorities face in the workplace, specifically with the wage gap.
At the time when the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, women were making 59 cents on average for every dollar a man was making. Today, 56 years later, this number has only been raised 20 cents.
Not only does the 2020 election have the record-breaking number for the most women running, it can also be seen as a tribute to the long road women have traveled to get to where they are today. Even though there are still many obstacles dividing genders, it is comforting to know that the Oval Office is not one of them.
One more thing …
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!!!
By MELANIE RAIBLE
Featured photos from The New York Historical Society and Getty Images.