"A line of women rally for women's suffrage and advertise a free rally discussing women's right to vote in Washington D.C. on Oct. 3, 1915." Photo by NPR and AP.
In "Organizing for Social Change After Suffrage" Nation writer Stella Crossley Daljord wrote that "Just 'Votes for Women' may not account to much. But the votes of women cast intelligently in the struggle against the present sick economic order may make considerable difference." - Read the full article and view photo slide show by clicking on the photo above or HERE for the NPR page.
As we celebrate Women's History Month and take a look back at various women and issues that have preceeded us, one that stands out for most is the fight for the right to vote. 'Votes for Women' was empowering and important when it was a thriving issue almost 100 years ago. But is the right to vote still an issue for women today? Do women still take some kind of pride in their right and priviledge to vote, or has it gone amiss?
Today, more women vote than at any other time in history. If you don't believe that the voice of women has any influence or power in our country and in our world, take a minute to think again.
- According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 8.8 million more legal (meaning of voter age) women voters than men. That's 67.3 million women to 58.5 million men (2004).
- In the 1996, 2000, 2004 & 2008 Presidential elections, women voters outnumbered men in voter turnout. According to the Census Bureau, this number averages over the four elections to be differences from 7.2 million to 8.8 million. That's a lot of women voters. I think an 8.8 million voter difference could swing just about any election, don't you?
- Each year voter registration is higher for women than men in the following racial groups: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics and Whites.
- Statistically however, of the population of eligible women voters in the US, only a fraction are registered in lower middle class and poverty households. That being said, single mother households are on the rise as are the number of women on Social Security, Medicare and food stamps. These women are highly under-represented.
Are you passionate about health care? Are you passionate about the education system in our country and how it affects your children? Maybe you're passionate about tax law, gambling, abortion (pro-life or pro-choice), human trafficking, environmental issues, same sex marriage, poverty, child welfare...whatever it is you find yourself passionate about, you have a voice and a vote.
Statistics tell us there are more eligible women voters to vote and more women voters who actually do vote. Given thesea are the cold hard facts, that means the work of women almost 100 years ago did something tremendous...they gave us the ability to be heard, not as a superior voice, but as one that is equally influential in nature. We need to encourage each other to embrace this unique freedom that we have, to celebrate it and to vote on city, state and national issues. It's not enough to just be compassionate and "feel" for situations, we must take action in ways that can benefit the greater good of the whole community. We must stand next to our husbands and vote, whether we vote as he does or not. We must stand as single women, stay at home moms, career women, single mothers...we must stand together as women and make important marks on a piece of paper that can impact the lives of billions of people.
I want to honor the women who fought for my right to vote by being diligent in my civic responsibility to know the issues and to vote. It's not about being political, it's about having hope for the future of things and putting in your two cents. Before we know it, our TVs will be plastered with awful campaign ads that I personally just detest...this is a great plug for the DVR as I praise the ability to fast forward through them now. Yippie! When the local and state elections swing around this fall, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the issues, research the issues and how different votes would affect them and get out and vote. Don't like the radio and TV news drama? I don't blame you. Turn them off and tune them out. Do some online research. Each state will have a list of various ballot issues and you can do online research on your own without the choatic bickering that makes our ears burn and our hair fall out.
Go empower yourselves today ladies. Be active parts of your community, after all, it is YOUR community.