Editorial: Pennsylvania gave women voice with vote
Women get to have a say.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. It should seem obvious. Of course a woman gets a seat at the table, a voice in a discussion. Of course all women should have that opportunity.
But it was just 100 years ago that Pennsylvania said that, yes, every woman has the same right to cast a vote as every man.
The Keystone State — the second to ratify the U.S. Constitution — was the seventh to ratify the 19th Amendment on June 24, 1919.
A century later, women are having an explosion of political involvement that suffrage advocates such as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Julia Ward Howe and Alice Paul dreamed was possible.
It’s the kind of future that Abigail Adams imagined as she urged her one-day president husband to not to neglect women in forging a new nation. In a March 1776 letter to John Adams during the Continental Congress, she pressed him, telling the revolutionary leader that “if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
The vote to ratify the amendment took 143 years from that warning. Today, we have an impressive number of women office-holders, not just in Congress after the 2018 midterms but in women exercising their political muscles in local government, school boards, county seats and state positions.
Women have taken the right to vote and forged those ballots into a lever, using it to pry open the doors to the halls of power. They have piled up those ballots to serve as soap boxes to advance causes. They have rolled those ballots into megaphones to shout a message of involvement and a call to arms.
And it is important to note that this is not partisan. Women are speaking and running and governing and voting, but they are not doing it with one voice because — just like men — women are a mixture of experiences and backgrounds and aspirations that refuses to be pigeonholed.
A woman ran for president in 2016 as a Democrat, but one also ran as a Republican. More are running for the 2020 Democratic nomination, but some of their greatest critics are women in the GOP. President Trump’s election has energized a large and vocal contingent of women to action, but he owes his 2016 election to women who voted for him.
For 100 years now, women have legally had a say in their world. Whether you use it to whisper, cajole, caution or shout, make yourself heard.