On this day 90 years ago, Tennessee became the final state to ratify the 19th amendment, finally giving women the right to vote. If you haven’t yet, go read Gail Collins’ excellent column last week describing the circumstances leading up to that historic vote: My Favorite August.
I was thinking about how to best celebrate this occasion, and I think it’s in the spirit of gratefulness. Granted, that’s not my usual mood, particularly when it comes to women’s issues. As you know from my repeated rants, being a pro-choice feminist can be frustrating. When it comes to abortion in particular, there isn’t a lot of good news, even with the Dems in charge. I often feel angry and disillusioned, and it seems like progress– if it happens at all– is too slow.
On the other side, I think many women of my generation feel complacent. The women’s rights movement has achieved so much that it might seem like there’s nothing left to be done. Never mind the myriad of ways that women still haven’t achieved equality; from the outside, it might look like feminism is over.
But let’s set aside the frustration and the complacency for a day, and thank the women (and men) who fought so hard for rights we can take for granted today, like the ability to cast a vote. It’s kind of unbelievable that it took so long for women’s suffrage to be enacted, but it’s a testament to the tireless work of the suffragists that it happened at all.
On a personal note, I feel incredibly grateful to have so many strong female role models in my life. I’ve had amazing teachers, friends, and coworkers. Most importantly, I have a mother and grandmother who instilled in me from a very young age the belief that I could accomplish anything I wanted to. They are strong, bright, passionate women who have showed me what it means to balance a successful career with a family, who have taught me the importance of fighting for what I believe in, and who have encouraged me every step of the way.
So in honor of women getting the right to vote, I encourage you all to celebrate today by thanking your favorite feminists. Yay, suffrage!