Women’s Suffrage a Young 100

I was a child of the sixties. Woman’s liberation was in full bore when I was an adolescent. Woman fighting for equal rights is something I feel has been going on my whole life. Today is the 100th Anniversary of Womens suffrage, the right to vote. On this day 100 years ago the state of Tennessee was the last needed state to ratify the 19th amendment. It was a fight that began in1848 and took 72 years to complete.

For so many years in my life women have fought for the Equal Rights Amendment. It seems like a no brainer that men and women should be equally protected under the law. Sadly, without the ERA being ratified by enough states women still do not enjoy the same rights and protections under the constitution as men.

As I think of this I realize that neither of my Grandmothers were born with the right to vote. It just wasn’t that long ago. Even when women were given this right 100 years ago it did not mean all women. Native American, Chinese Americans and Black women in the south still couldn’t vote. So as we celebrate this anniversary we need to remember that.

Perhaps it is time to pick the ERA back up and continue the fight for its ratification. Rights are something we have to work to protect. For a start on this 100th year of some women having the right to vote it is more important than ever to exercise your right. Women need to make history and come out in numbers that have never been seen before. Our lives depend on it and the rights of our daughters and grand daughters and future women to come. The fight just goes on.


2 Comments on “Women’s Suffrage a Young 100”

  1. Stuart Wright says:

    Rotary International, in its constitution barred women from membership. It took legal action right up to the Supreme Court to overturn that regulation. Here is a brief history.

    1977
    The Rotary Club of Duarte, California, USA, admits women as members in violation of the RI Constitution and Standard Rotary Club Constitution. Because of this violation, the club’s membership in Rotary International is terminated in March 1978. (The club was reinstated in September 1986.)

    1983-86
    In a lawsuit filed by the Duarte club, the California Superior Court in 1983 rules in favor of Rotary International, upholding gender-based qualification for membership in California Rotary clubs. In 1986, the California Court of Appeals reverses the lower court’s decision, preventing the enforcement of the provision in California. The California Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, and it is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    1987
    On 4 May, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Rotary clubs may not exclude women from membership on the basis of gender. Rotary issues a policy statement that any Rotary club in the United States can admit qualified women into membership.

    The Rotary Club of Marin Sunrise, California (formerly Larkspur Landing), is chartered on 28 May. It becomes the first club after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to have women as charter members. Sylvia Whitlock, of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, becomes the first female Rotary club president.

    1988
    In November, the RI Board of Directors issues a policy statement recognizing the right of Rotary clubs in Canada to admit female members based on a Canadian law similar to that upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    1989
    At its first meeting after the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Council on Legislation votes to eliminate the requirement in the RI Constitution that membership in Rotary clubs be limited to men. Women are welcomed into Rotary clubs around the world.


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