Women’s History Month 2021

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Happy Women’s History Month 2021!

Women’s History Day was first held on February 28, 1909 on the one-year anniversary of the NYC garment workers strike. At the time, the majority of employees in the garment factories were teenage girls. During the 1908 strike, 15,000 women took to the streets of New York City to protest their poor working conditions and lack of employee rights.
From 1909 onward, women’s history has been acknowledged each March. In 1987, March was officially proclaimed Women’s History Month. Each year has a unique theme focusing on a facet of women’s history. The theme for 2021 is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”

Suffrage was a long process:
1. In 1872, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States. She was nominated by the Equal Rights Party, and openly supported equal rights for women, legalized prostitution, and free love. In her personal life, she amassed two fortunes by working first as a magnetic healer, and then by opening and operating the first woman owned brokerage firm on Wall Street.

2. Women’s suffrage really didn’t take off until 1848, when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. Even then, suffrage was the only resolution not unanimously agreed upon by attendees, and was only adopted because abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass expressed strong support for the movement.

3. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified by the necessary majority of 36 states, which granted women the right to vote. Mississippi initially rejected ratification, and did not reverse their decision until 1984- making it the last state to ratify this amendment.

4. Women were first allowed to vote in the 1920 presidential election, but turnout was low. Women didn’t begin to vote in equal numbers to men until the 1960s.
The 1960’s also saw Margaret Chase Smith become the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency at a major political party convention (Republican). In 1972, Tonie Nathan became the first woman to receive an electoral vote (Libertarian). In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated for President by a major political party (Democrat).
The 2020 Presidential Election was groundbreaking for women with regard to achieving the presidency or vice presidency.
• Six women ran in the Democratic primary, which to date is the highest number of women ever running in a presidential primary.

• Jo Jorgenson was the Libertarian party’s nominee for 2020.

• Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President, and highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history.

Want to learn about suffrage in song form? Click the link below!