Women’s Equality Day: 95 Years Ago Women Were Granted The Right To Vote, Today Women Of Color Are An Extremely Important Voting Bloc

ERA words button

The ERA: Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution First introduced by Alice Paul in 1923 after women were given the right to vote in the US Constitution in 1920. It needs three more state to ratify it before will be included fully recognized in our Constitution.

Women were granted the right to vote 95 years ago. We are still waiting for passage of the Equal Right  Amendment that was first introduced in 1923. Meanwhile here’s some info on the positive impact of what the 19th Amendment did for women, particularly women of color.

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Aug 26, 2015 | By CAP Action War Room

Today marks 95 years since the certification of the 19th amendment, which granted women access to vote. In recognition of the historic achievement, President Obama declared today Women’s Equality Day. Women’s Equality Day recognizes all the ways that persisting gender inequality affects women today, from the gender wage gap to equal access to the ballot box.

A new analysis by the Center for American Progress looked at the influential role women—especially women of color—play in our elections. The 19th Amendment paved the way for women to vote, but until the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965, many women of color were still prohibited from voting. But in the relatively short amount of time since then, even amidst attacks on voting rights at the national and state level, women of color have become an incredibly influential voting bloc.

Here are…

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2 thoughts on “Women’s Equality Day: 95 Years Ago Women Were Granted The Right To Vote, Today Women Of Color Are An Extremely Important Voting Bloc

  1. I’ve been voting since 1972, and my political party considers me a “supervoter.” I am very offended by women of color who “do not vote”, because too many people died for our right to vote….men, women, and children……of all races. To be a non-voter is to DISHONOR their memories.

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    • Hi Cindie,
      I hear your frustration. We all wish that everyone in the United States exercised their right to vote. Unfortunately that isn’t happening. According to the Washington Post, just 36.4% of the voting-eligible public showed up to vote in the November 2014 general election.

      However I disagree with your apparant premise for non-voting. It seems that you are stating that women of color voluntarily don’t vote. According to the Brennen Center for Justice, women don’t vote for many reasons, just as do men. However, for women, the burdens placed on them by voting restrictions, lower wages from jobs without paid leave, and childcare/eldercare often complicate their ability to vote. Here’s what the Brennen Center said on this issue on August 26, 2015:

      Since the 2010 election, new restrictions — ranging from onerous burdens on community voter registration drives to the elimination of same-day registration — are in place in 21 states. Two measures in particular may be especially harmful to women’s voting rights: strict photo ID laws and cutbacks to early voting.

      Strict photo ID laws can be hard on women because of the difficulties voters may face when casting a ballot if the name on their ID does not match the name in the voter rolls. Even today, surveys estimate that roughly 80 percent of women change their name at marriage. Compounding the problem, about one-third of voting-age women do not have ready access to underlying documents with their current, legal name — such as birth certificates and passports — which can be necessary to get other identification like a driver’s license.

      Cuts to early voting may also have a pernicious effect on women’s access to the ballot. Despite changes in gender roles, women still spend twice the amount of time on childcare and housework as men do. Demanding schedules at work and at home place severe restrictions on when women can go to the polls, and cutbacks to early voting minimize opportunities to vote.

      Towards the end of this article, author Nelson Castano focuses on lack of early voting that disproportionately affects women of color:

      Although legislators later softened the voter ID component of the law, reductions to the early voting period still remain. That hurts women, especially women of color — like Mrs. Rosa Nell Eaton, a lead plaintiff in ongoing litigation seeking to stop the law’s implementation — who rely on early voting more heavily than men do. Mrs. Eaton is concerned she and the elderly and disabled people whom she usually assists during the early voting period will be severely limited in the times during which they can go vote. She and other early voters anticipate longer lines at the polls as a result of the shortened voting period.

      Having jobs that don’t allow you to take off of work to vote combined with lack of transportation and/or childcare makes it even harder for low income women to vote. In some cases, when choosing between standing in line to vote and fearing the loss of your job, that “choice” is easy.

      As such, I still believe that the bottom line of this blog still holds:

      Equal access to the ballot is vital to the health of our democratic society. We need federal voting rights protections to help repair the damage done by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, the case that gutted the Voting Rights Act, to ensure everyone is guaranteed equal access to the ballot box.

      Thus, being a non-voter, IMHO, does not “dishonor” our foremothers’ and forefathers’ efforts.

      I do believe we can agree that the lack of voter turnout is frustrating, but I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree with each other on why and whom to blame.

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