by Kasidi Jordan
For majority of women’s time in America, they were not allowed a voice. Jobs weren’t handed to them, they weren’t seen as important, and they had no impact on what could happen to the country. It wasn’t until 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed giving women their right to vote, giving them their voice in the country. Since then, women have had the opportunity to make major decisions in this country, have a seat on the supreme court, serve in congress, and become the vice president.
Early American Women
One of the earliest figures who pushed for women’s power is Abigail Adams (1776), wife to John Adams. John Adams being a member of the Continental Congress and the 2nd United States President, Abigail took it upon herself to write letters to not only her husband but other men in power to push them to include women in being able to handle power, and not all of it reside to the husband. Since then organizations were formed in the early years of America to push for women’s power. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention took place where 300 women signed the Declaration of Sentiments to model the Declaration of Independence to show their demands as women citizens. Following up, in 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for all women’s rights. Soon after the association was formed women went straight in to positions of power with Julia Addington being the first woman elected to public office as a superintendent of Mitchell County schools (1869), Susanna Salter became the first woman to serve as a mayor in the U.S. in the city of Argonia, Kansas (1887), and in 1892 Laura Eisenhuth became the first elected to a statewide executive office as the superintendent of public construction. Right before the passing of the 19th amendment, granting women suffrage, in 1916 Jeanette Rankin became the first to be elected to congress.
Following The 19th Amendment
After the passing of the 19th amendment, the name of a woman became much more popular in higher positions of power through state and federal government. In 1933, during a very challenging time for America in it’s post-war Great Depression, a woman named Frances Perkins took the cabinet position of secretary of labor. Appointed by president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ms. Perkins was very influential in writing the New Deal and monumental programs to restore the American economy and workforce. In a more recent time, 1992 is deemed the “Year of the Woman” due to it being the first year two woman served on the senate at the same time, with the addition of four more by the end of the year. Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the house, not once but twice, her first time being in 2007 and then coming back in 2019. Previously in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman picked as a candidate to be vice president with running official Walter Mondale, in 2021, Kamala Harris was not only the first woman, but woman of color to be elected into the White House as the Vice President of the United States.
From simply writing letters to the Continental Congress, to sitting alongside the President, women have moved up in the chain of power before their voices were even allowed to be heard. All types of women have stepped up to the plate to change history by taking on power that before them was only held by men. Local positions as simple as a school county superintendent to the major voice of a Supreme Court justice, women have fought long and hard to make a change in every aspect of life. We now hold jobs that used to be only for men, and our strength as countless examples throughout society. What women do you know have influenced the power we show? How could you help fight for women today?