The Suffrage Coalition is a 501c3 organization dedicated to the preserving the history of woman's suffrage through stories, photos, artifacts, and memorabilia.
19th Amendment Centennial sees first woman U.S. Vice President
President Joe Biden swearing in at the Inauguration ceremony next to first lady, Jill Biden. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. , Jan. 20, 2021 - Washington, DC, USA - via Shutterstock by MCCV
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff wave after the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, in Washington, D.C., U.S., Jan. 20, 2021. - via Shutterstock by MCCV
Vice President, Kamala Harris swearing in Inauguration ceremony. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. , Jan. 20, 2021 - via Shutterstock by MCCV
“This world taught woman nothing skillful and then said her work was valueless. It permitted her no opinions and said she did not know how to think. It forbade her to speak in public, and said the sex had no orators. It denied her the schools, and said the sex had no genius. It robbed her of every vestige of responsibility, and then called her weak. It taught her that every pleasure must come as a favor from men, and when to gain it she decked herself in paint and fine feathers, as she had been taught to do, it called her vain.” ~ Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt delivered the words above as part of her address to the 34th annual convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Washington, D.C. in 1902. It is difficult to imagine that nearly two more decades of constant effort and sacrifice would be required for women to obtain the fundamental constitutional right to vote, any only then by the narrowest of margins and in the face of still fierce opposition.
Last year our plans to celebrate the Centennial of that great achievement were frustrated by the pandemic as America sank into an historic political divide, followed by an unthinkable insurrection. Now more than ever we women need to use our vote and our influence to heal the divisions and to help us find our balance and our way forward.
Today we celebrate the inauguration of the first woman ever to serve as Vice President, Kamala Harris. She brings to the office a perspective that is informed of the special challenges women face and the special strengths and skills they have developed. She also brings a special understanding of what it means to be black and/or an immigrant in American and a special appreciation of what they have to offer to us all. We have a much better chance of moving forward if our leaders understand the perspectives of long disadvantaged people as well as the perspectives those who fear losing power and influence by opening the doors to others.
We are not a monolith, but as women, we have much more in common than in difference even though we have gravitated to both sides of the political aisle.
When the Suffragists began their long struggle, they were virtually legally and culturally invisible or worse. Against all odds, they eventually prevailed. The suffragists achieved enormous good although faced with some of the most contentious times in our history: a Civil War, the first World War, a deadly global pandemic, and unbelievable racial oppression. They had their differences, but held strong to their fundamental belief in what had to happen to get us to “a more perfect union.”
This is a time for us to not only survive, but to thrive. When it is safe again, we will begin the task of building a museum to preserve the history of these amazing women and to preserve the roadmap they gave us on how to survive and thrive in the worst of times.
Wanda, Suffrage Coalition President