Historically, it is no exaggeration to say that women were always less powerful. It also took a long time for the United States to establish equal rights for women. Until the 1910s, most states in the U.S. did not recognize the right to vote for women. The U.S. Constitution allowed states to directly determine eligible voters. Women in the U.S. have continued their lonely fight against states and countries to win electrical votes. Susan B. Anthony, the American abolitionist and leader in the women’s suffrage movement, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a U.S. social activist drafted the new amendment in 1878. However, it wasn’t until 1919, 49 years later, that the U.S. Congress submitted the amendment to the state. It was proposed on June 4th, 1919 and was not ratified until August 18th, 1920. In 2020, 100 years later, there are 25 women in the U.S. Senate and 102 in the House of Representatives are in parliament.
1. Nineteenth Amendment
19 is a number that American women value very much. The passage of Article 19 of the U.S. Constitution in 1920 allowed American women to participate in politics. In 2020, this year marks the 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment. It prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment is also the culmination of numerous women’s movements in the United States. On January 9th 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson expressed support for the amendment. The next day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the amendment by a narrow margin. However, the U.S. Senate refused to even discuss it until October of the same year. When the U.S. Senate voted again in October, it was voted down by three votes. In response, the National Women’s Party appealed to citizens not to vote for senators who opposed the suffrage of women in the fall of 1918. Thank to this move, most members of Congress became supporters of women’s suffrage since the 1918 election. On May 21st 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the amendment by a margin of 304 to 89 and 2 weeks later by a margin of 56 to 25 in the U.S. Senate on June 4th. At that time, 36 out of 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii, which officially became states in 1959) had to ratify their individual constitutions, which is more than three-quarters of the states, to have the law in effect. By March 1920, 35 states had ratified the law, and on August 18th of the same year, Tennessee passed the ratification, serving as a casting vote. On August 26th 1920, U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby officially declared the ratification.
2. Women’s Movement in America
The Women’s movement in the United States can be divided into the first and second periods. Although there are some differences between scholars in distinguishing these periods, the first term generally means the mid-19th century to 1920, and the second period means the 1960s, when American social movements were more active.
The first women’s liberation movement focused simply on women being treated equally with men. This first women’s liberation movement was carried out with the ideology that women aim to participate in family and household labor the same as men. However, the first women’s liberation movement ended after American women had won suffrage in 1920. As a result, the women’s liberation movement went into recession for about 30 years from 1930 to the end of the 1950s. During these years, countless women in the United States again experienced the vicious cycle of economic participation only to return to family work. In the aftermath of the U.S. economic panic in the 1930s, married women were forced out of work and had to return to their homes. In 1931, several state, city, and school education boards in the United States enacted legislation banning or restricting married women from getting jobs. As a result, the overall social atmosphere has grown in the perception that married women working outside the home takes away men’s jobs.
The second women’s liberation movement emphasized the biological, psychological and literary aspects of sex. In addition, practical women’s human rights continued to advance as interest was extended and promoted to all areas related to women’s issues and women’s movements. In the 1940s, World War II broke out and many women were incorporated into the paid labor force under the influence of war. Women suddenly entered into all aspects of the defense industry and other previously male only industries. Married female workers increased steadily in the 1950s and 1960s. As of 1963, however, women’s wages averaged only 63% compared to men’s wages. In a book titled “The Feminine Mystique”, author Betty Friedan argued that the world outside the home should not be defined as a male exclusive property but that women should actively jump in and find their own personal or professional identity. Another characteristic of the women’s movement at that time was the sexual revolution of the 1960s. This sexual revolution has given a great boost to the development and sale of contraceptives. Later in 1966, 28 professional women, including Betty Friedan, organized the American Women’s Federation. The purpose of the organization was to help American women fully join the mainstream of American society.
3. Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment
During President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on February 4th, female members of the Democratic Party of the United States appeared in white suits. White clothes are a symbol of the women’s suffrage movement. They were dressed in white to mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Women’s suffrage. Members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus once posted ‘#WearWhite’ on SNS before Trump’s State of the Union address. In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “proud to join my fellow @HouseDemWomen today as we #WearWhite to show support for the ongoing fight to achieve equality for women across the country” on her Twitter.
Also, female journalists in the U.S. have launched free online news media to celebrate the 100th anniversary. Its name is ‘The 19th News’. This also shows American women’s affection for the number 19. Emily Ramshaw, who was previously editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, is now the co-founder and CEO of The 19th. She said in a recent interview with NPR “so that messaging for us is basically saying the 19th Amendment didn’t go far enough. It’s still unfinished business. Our image and our goal, really, is to sort of take it back and to reenergize and reinvigorate civic engagement for women of all creeds.” Emily Ramshaw plans to launch a news service this summer after succeeding in drawing investment worth about 5.93 billion won from philanthropists Craig Newmark and Catherine Murdock etc.
One hundred years after the passage of the U.S. women’s suffrage, 24% of the U.S. House and Senate are women. Since the founding of the United States, countless women have long fought for their political participation. It is not to show the position that women are superior to men. The U.S. women’s liberation movement, which has long been based on numerous sacrifices and hard work, is still creating their present with the single goal of not being denied or restricted simply because of their sex.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >