For The Women Who Came Before Us

For The Women Who Came Before Us

The 2016 presidential election has proven to be one of the most controversial in recent history. Issues concerning the safety and freedom of women, homosexuals, immigrants, and Muslims seem to be at the forefront of social policy recently. The subject of “equality” has become a hot button topic as both sides debate on what exactly that means and how to achieve it. With this in mind, it is important to point out that women have legally had the right to vote for less than 100 years.

The women’s suffrage movement began in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 with a group of abolitionist activist women and men meeting to begin the conversation about women’s rights and how to begin action towards constitutional equality. They produced a document called the Declaration of Sentiments that focused on establishing the notion that women need to be treated with the same humanity as men.

Due to the civil war, however, the movement was put on the backburner as people focused their efforts on abolition and ensuring basic human rights for former slaves. It was not until after the culmination of the war that the movement gained momentum.  In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association was formed and thus started the fight towards universal suffrage.

Suffragists received aggressive discrimination for their activism and had to constantly remind themselves of the greater cause. Many were jailed for protesting and received a myriad of threats. There was even a hunger strike. Suffragists risked their lives and reputation to fight for all women so they would have a voice in America’s political system. This is why women need to show up to the polls on November 8th and honor the sacrifices made by the women who came before us.

Our right to vote was not easily granted, and to waste our privilege is to disrespect all of the work it took to get here. Many people have made the decision to not vote in this election due to shortcomings they identify in both major party candidates. I believe this is the worst thing to do in an election like this. By abstaining from voting, you are effectively deciding to not play a part in the future of this country. There is so much at stake in this election: universal healthcare, immigration reform, and potentially five open seats in the Supreme Court, to name a few. Identify the issues you feel most passionate about, and vote for the presidential and congressional candidates who will represent your stance. An election represents so much more than the people who are running. It is the opportunity to take advantage of the amazing rights we have in the United States. Get educated, ask questions, speak up, and vote on November 8th.