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19th Amendment: 100 year anniversary of women's right to vote

What is the historical significance of marking the 100 year anniversary of women earning the right to vote through the 19th Amendment

Posted: Aug 18, 2020 8:40 AM
Updated: Aug 18, 2020 12:22 PM

CHICO, Calif. -- Today marks a milestone in American history. 100 years ago, on August 18, 2020, women earned the legal right to vote in the United States, the 19th Amendment.

Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough recently talked with two Chico State University Professors who specialize in the fields of Multicultural & Gender Studies, History, and Capitalism. The discussion centered on what that milestone meant for women then and now.

The anniversary comes as across the country, female leaders hold prominent roles, serving as governors, mayors, and U.S. Senators. Women have and continue to strive for the highest offices in the country.

For election year 2020, a historic presidential ticket includes a woman of color, California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.

Yarbough was joined by Dr. Sara E. Cooper, Professor of Spanish and Director of Multicultural Gender Studies & Dr. Alisa Wade, Professor of History, Gender and Capitalism

"What's the significance of that historical date in relation to where we are today in our country?” asked Yarbough.
“It is both a great win and also a great failure,” said Dr. Cooper.

Dr. Wade says, “We have this danger of thinking the 19th amendment achieved something and the work is done when in actuality it is not."

In 2020, 100 years since that moment, how far have women advanced?

Dr. Cooper believes, “We still have not achieved equality among the sexes or the genders.”

The discussion also touched on whether all women of that time, we're included in the push for equality and the right to vote for women. The professors say with what we know now and looking back at that time, the women’s movement for equality was not inclusive.
“The women’s suffragist movement was fairly limited in scope,” explains Dr. Cooper. “It was racist and classist, black women were disenfranchised even after the vote.”

What would women from the turn of the century think of the current state of women?

Both professors say they believe the response would be positive to the advancement for women in the fields of employment, access to education, improvements in health care, and even the right to divorce.

However, they both believed overall, the reaction would be dismal.

“I would say there would be an overwhelming sense of disappointment that we are where we are right now,” said Dr. Wade.
“I’d say they would be very sad that we have not gotten any farther than this,” said Dr. Cooper.

The conversation also touched on the 1972 proposed Equal Rights Amendment; the E.R.A. To date, women still do not have 100-percent equality under the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier this year, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed the three-quarters threshold of states ratifying. However, it came after the congressional deadline set for the amendment to achieve full ratification and five states have also rescinded prior approval for the E.R.A.

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