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The Journey of Women’s Suffrage to Women at the Polls Today

Women’s Suffrage was the almost 100-year movement of women fighting to be recognized as equals and to have a voice within the politics they are governed by. The journey of protests, development of suffrage organizations, and long campaigns began in the mid-1800s. The 19th amendment was finally ratified on August 18, 1920, allowing women to vote for almost 100 years now. Thousands of women throughout the United States were tired of being unheard and stepping out of the gender roles society handed to them. Though there are many suffragettes recognized for paving the way for gender equality, here are a few examples of leaders within the women’s suffrage movement:

Susan B Anthony  

            Susan B. Anthony is most widely recognized as the leader of the women’s suffrage movement, traveling throughout the US to give speeches regarding equality and for the rights of women to vote. She was unafraid of the consequences for her beliefs and was once arrested in an attempt to vote in 1972. She later created the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and continued her activism until she died in 1906. Although she was never given the opportunity to vote, she is remembered for her determination in fighting for equality women deserved.

Alice Paul

            Alice Paul was a suffragette who gained recognition for her march with more than eight thousand women in Washington D.C. on March 13, 1913. She joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association, eventually joining the National Women’s Party, and developed a Congressional Union where she was involved with lobbying in Congress for an amendment. Paul then focused on the Equal Right’s Amendment which protects women from discrimination, but has yet to be ratified by Congress.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

            Mary Ann Shadd Cary advocated for the equality of all people. Cary assisted runaway slaves and was a teacher for African American students. Eventually, she joined Susan B. Anthony, speaking in front of the House of Representatives, advocating for women’s right to vote. She was the first African American woman to speak at the National African-American Convention, the first woman in the law program at Howard University, and the first African American woman to cast a ballot in a national election.

            Today, 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, women have had a greater voter turnout than men since 1984. There are also gaps between party affiliation, as 56% of women in 2018-2019 identify as a Democrat and 38% identify as a Republican. Whereas 50% of men are affiliated with the Republican Party, and 42% are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Additionally, among different racial identities, such as the Black and Hispanic citizens, women are more likely to vote than men, but both genders are more likely to be associated with the Democratic Party. Because the political beliefs of the Democratic Party tend to be progressive, and considering the history of women’s rights,  the continuation of inequality among women today, such as unequal salaries, can be evident as why a majority of women identify as a Democrat. Overall, there are several impacts that suggest why there are various differences within voting, which is based on gender, education, and racial identities.  

            Voting is so important, and though many citizens feel as if their vote doesn’t count, it definitely does. The world is so chaotic between the COVID- 19 pandemic, racism and police brutality, the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the questionable future of reproductive rights—it seems as if there is no solution. But one contribution to solving these problems within the government is to vote. Vote to elect officials who will advocate for these issues that are so concerning for the future of citizens within the United States. The presidential election is on November 3, and will dictate what the next four years of our country will look like. It is so important to be educated on the people who lead our country and to fulfill your civic duty, especially in times like these. GO VOTE!


www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/susan-b-anthony. www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/alice-paul



Sofia Chiarizio

Emmanuel '24

My name is Sofia Chiarizio and I am a freshman at Emmanuel College, intending to major in Biology. In my free time I love to hang out with my friends and family, and watch The Office!
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