March 8th marks International Women’s Day 2020 - a day dedicated to the celebration, remembrance and recognition of women across industry, racial and national lines. This annual holiday, surrounded by Women’s History Month, recognizes women’s contributions to society as a whole as well as the barriers still before them all over the world. This year’s celebration is particularly special as 2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States.
According to researched displayed in the Library of Congress’ commemorative exhibit “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote”, women campaigned for the right to vote for over 70 years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This arduous journey campaigning for women’s suffrage was not an easy one as suffragists often faced extreme, even violent, opposition. “The movement questioned the country’s commitment to democracy, exposed the nation’s longstanding class, regional, and racial divides, and challenged existing gender stereotypes.”
While the right to the vote is still a relatively recent victory, Americans have come a long way in breaking through many of the other gender barriers that have long existed across industry and social lines. Though there are still reported gender biased gaps in pay and workplace recognition, the continued progress is evident as women continue to push the envelope.
Here are a few of the many significant events leading up to women’s status in the U.S. today:
- In 1848, the first women’s-rights convention met in Seneca Falls, New York.
- In 1920, 19th Amendment was ratified and to the Constitution, allowing American women the right to vote.
- In 1923, activist Alice Paul proposes the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time.
- In 1933, Frances Perkins becomes the first female member of a Presidential cabinet.
- In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominates Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first woman on the Supreme Court.
- In 1997, Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State.
One does not have to look far to see the influence women have had in medicine, politics, technology, literature and nearly every industry or aspect of society. This month and 100-year celebration of the women’s vote is a time of reflection as much as it is an opportunity to look beyond the glass ceiling and into the future for women. Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and this blog as the world both celebrates and champions women.