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Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Marking the centennial of one of the most pivotal transformations within our collective history may seem the last thing to be focusing on at this point in time. Americans seem lost in the quagmire of current circumstances, but the impact of this event over a century ago, couldn't be more applicable — especially today.

Since the 1848 Women's Conference in Seneca Falls, NY, a decades-long movement sought to establish the right to vote for women. The key leaders who began this journey — Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and others — would never live to see their rights achieved, and it was a second generation of women who carried the torch across the finish line with the passing of the 19th Amendment.

Suffragist marching for her rights in 1915!

While the United States was emerging from the deadly 1918 pandemic and rebuilding following WWI, the 19th Amendment passed Congress in June of 1919. Though passed, it could not become Federal law until at least 36 states voted in favor of the amendment. In Tennessee on August 18th, 1920, with a ratified vote in the State Senate and a tie vote in the state House of Representatives, a young state congressman had his mind changed by a letter he received that morning from his mother. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, forever changing the course of history.

Alice Paul's congratulatory telegram to Tennessee Governor Roberts on the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Today, a century later, women are still working towards more equitable representation. We are still behind in having an equal say within the course of our daily lives, throughout industry and yes, still within politics. Women constitute 51% of our U.S. population -- 331,002,651 as of 8/19/2020 — yet within the past 100 years since women's right to vote was passed, only four women have been nominated for holding a role in the highest levels of governance within our country. Let me say that again — only four women.

Alice Paul — chair of the National Women's Party — displays a suffragist banner celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

100 years ago, generations of women won the right to have their voices heard through their vote. Today, voter suppression has gone from backroom whisperings to blatant, criminal acts unfolding before our eyes. In these challenging times, it's up to us now to carry that torch even further across the threshold of the White House and place a woman — a qualified, intelligent, capable and compassionate leader — within the highest realms of governance for our country! Just as a single vote forever changed the course of history then, this precious right has never been more vital than now — VOTE!

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