Thursday, June 4, 2009

Women's Suffrage

There's been so many important events going on in the news lately, and yet I've struggled to come up with an original response to any of it. Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Hispanic (and third woman) nominated to the Supreme Court, the tragic murder of abortion provider George Tiller, massive healthcare reform being discussed, the never-ending gay marriage battle across various states, the President's speech to the Muslim world today, etc. etc.

I think part of my problem is that I read so many op-eds that I become intimidated and struggle to come up with any unique angle that hasn't already been covered. Not that I'm trying to be a reporter, but I do try to come up with my own thoughts and opinions about a subject and when I blog, I don't just want to post links and say "Look! I agree with this, this and this. And I disagree with this."

So today I'm writing about something that's not really high up on the news radar, but that I think is important. I had a little extra time this morning and flipped around to a couple cable news shows (yes including Fox, although I did yell at the tv a couple times!) and while most of it was dedicated to the speech Obama made in Cairo today, I did hear a small snippet that caught my attention. Somone mentioned that women gained the right to vote 90 years ago today. So today I Googled "women's vote" and "19th amendment" and only a few articles came up. Which is good in a sense because it's no longer news that women have rights.

However, 90 years isn't really that long ago. There are people living today older than that! It's not just about the right to vote. It's about being seen as citizens deserving of equal rights and protection under the law. Women literally were seen as property, transferred from their fathers to their husbands. If a woman left her husband for whatever reason, her children and inheritance belonged to her husband. Even if she was able buy property, that property was not legally hers and she had no rights to it. Women who were put on trial were judged by a jury of all men because women weren't seen to be fit to serve on a jury.

Yes, jury duty sucks and so does dragging your butt out to the polls. And no, your one single vote is not going to decide the election. But there is power in numbers. The women at the Seneca Falls Convention (the convention that launched the women's suffrage movement) proved that, it was proven in November of 2008 when America elected the first African American President, and it was proven numerous times in between.

It's my hope that no one takes voting for granted, but especially women. Also, ladies, if some asshole comes up to you and asks, "Do you think we should end women's suffrage?" for the love of god, say NO! :)

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