When the Founding Fathers gathered for the Continental Congress to draft a new Constitution, future first lady Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John Adams and asked that he “remember the ladies”.[i] Women have been fighting for equal say in the political process since the founding of our nation, and 100 years ago this week, women made a huge stride in achieving that equality.
June 4, 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Senate’s passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote. The amendment, having been passed by the House of Representatives two weeks earlier, then headed to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment, and it was declared officially ratified on August 26, 1920. [ii]
On Tuesday, to honor and commemorate this centennial anniversary, the Senate passed S.Res.212 – A resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, providing for women’s suffrage, to the Constitution of the United States, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and cosponsored by every female senator. The Senate also passed S. 1235, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. This bill, introduced by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), honors the legacy of suffragists with a commemorative coin. All Senators donned yellow roses, a symbol of the women’s suffrage movement. CWA CEO and President, Penny Nance, as a member of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, joined other commission members in the Senate gallery to observe and celebrate this anniversary.
The battle for women’s suffrage was long-fought and officially began 72 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Although women participated in the political process, advocated for their beliefs, and were crucial to many movements, such as the abolition of slavery, they were denied the ability to participate in a civic duty so many of us take for granted. Because of the relentless work of the suffragettes, over 71 million[iii] women are now registered vote in the U.S. Unfortunately, that means only 68.5% of the female population is registered to vote. If you are not currently registered to vote, or if you are not sure if you are, please register to vote today in honor of the women who fought so hard for this privilege.