Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the nineteenth amendment giving women the right to vote. It was only in 1920 that women’s suffrage was passed and some Texans think that struggle was one in the not-too-distant past.
It all started on a hot, humid day in 1848 when five women met for tea in Upstate New York. Citing social, civil and religious issues, the group planned a women’s rights convention, one that included the right to vote. But the journey to the vote for women would take another 70 years.
Helena Mickie is the Director of the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Rice University. She says that young people today can’t imagine a time when women were not fully enfranchised.
Texas led the Southern states in ratifying the nineteenth amendment in 1920. Ruth Jones McClendon is a state representative from San Antonio and author of a recent bill that recognizes today as Women’s Independence Day. Although it was a long struggle with many set-backs, she says many Texas women take the right to vote for granted.
In addition to commemorating the vote for women, Women’s Independence Day also acts as a benchmark for continuing efforts towards full equality for women. Professor Mickie says this is only the beginning in a larger discussion of women’s rights.