By CYN LoPINTO
This month we pay tribute to the brave and determined women who played a role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment back on August 18, 1920. This movement guaranteed women the right to vote, a right known as woman suffrage. While the word “suffrage” actually means the right to vote, this term has nothing to do with the act of suffering as many people believe. In a derogatory attempt to dismiss the work of this courageous group, UK’s Daily Mail newspaper referred to these women as “suffragettes” and the title then rose to popularity in the US. Despite intense opposition, the efforts of the suffragettes paid off on November 2, 1920 during the presidential election between Republican Warren G. Harding and Democrat James M. Cox. This was the very first time women in all of the 48 states voted in an election and because of this, the total popular vote grew intensely.
Today women hold office on local, state and national levels. These politicians and the steady increase in female voters have brought about policy changes relating to many political, economic, environmental and social issues. This is especially true in the last thirty years. According to Rutgers University’s Center for the American Women and Politics, women voters have outnumbered male voters in every presidential election from 1980-2012. With the upcoming 2016 presidential election upon us, let us honor the strong and persistent suffragettes who sacrificed so much to make the voices of women an important part of the political landscape.