Reflecting on 100 years of women’s suffrage
By Deliana Speights, Secretary-Treasurer
Our sisters who came before us didn’t fight for the right to vote just to wear a sash, a button or a ribbon.
Women were denied the right to vote longer than we have held this fundamental right and we must never take it for granted. We must not ever waste the opportunity we have.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. In 1920, the United States held the first presidential election in which some women were allowed to cast a ballot.
I say “some women” were allowed to vote in that election because some of our sisters were left out of the process, even though it is perceived to be a landmark achievement for all women to cast those ballots.
It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that ALL women — regardless of color — were allowed to vote.
The progress we have made over the years in the political arena is a true testament to the legacy of the suffragist movement of the early 20th century.
We have prominent women in the legislature, we have seen women run for the highest office in the land, and this year we have Kamala Harris running for vice president from our own state of California.
Those of us in the Labor Movement can be proud of our predecessors’ role in making women’s suffrage a reality in America.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women began to join labor unions. They struck for better pay and working conditions. They began to realize the power they had and they began to join the suffrage movement. They knew without the right to vote women would always be lacking a key component of equality.
Today, unions remain powerful advocates for women who face challenges in the work force. Union lobbying campaigns for laws guaranteeing equal pay, paid family leave and other fair practices have been a huge benefit for working women, and groups like the UFCW Women’s Network continue to push for more protections at all levels of government.
Women bring more diversity and equality to the political process, and this year we have more women running for office than ever before.
Women were denied the right to vote for 144 years in this country and even longer for some. Let’s not forget all those who came before us and all they had to endure for us to have our voices heard.
The fight for equality continues. We must continue to organize, and the women of labor will continue to lead.
So let’s vote for those who support us!
Deliana can be reached at: 909-626-3333 ext. 226 firstname.lastname@example.org
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