This year marks a century since the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution assured women the right to vote. But it’s tough to imagine that only now will we be getting our first female vice-president. Still, it’s equally difficult to understand there was a time when the concept of women voting was radical and almost subversive. The old guard of White men who bore something like 99% of the nation’s wealth and power 100 years ago usually had trouble extending those privileges.
In 1917, the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company (the publishing arm of the National Woman Suffrage Association) came out with “This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote.” And all of its interior pages were blank. It was essentially a comical publication, but at its core was a serious message: there are no good reasons to deny women the right to vote.
Granting women the right to vote was just one major step in the ongoing struggle for voting rights in the United States. As much as detractors tried, they couldn’t squelch the myriad movements to ensure that very basic right, such as the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Considering what’s happened in this year’s elections, it appears that struggle is not over.