August 18th¬†marked the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution. It‚Äôs been ninety-five years since the original suffragettes lobbied, picketed and marched for women‚Äôs right to vote. The question is, how far have we come?
Prior to 1960, the United States did not really keep track of voter demographics, but in several scholarly articles published in the decade following the amendment‚Äôs ratification authors claimed that women were not acting on their rights. At least, not widely.
In many studies led by political researchers in the 1920s, women often stated the reason they did not exercise their right to vote was because they had no interest in the political election. What these articles often failed to mention is that this right was still newly ratified. Women had been told for two centuries to maintain their homes and raise their families, and suffragettes only represented a portion of American women.¬†Women‚Äôs suffrage did not gain full momentum and acceptance in the United States until the second wave of the women‚Äôs right movement in the late sixties and seventies.
In the 1980 presidential election, women comprised of 49% of voters. By the 1984 presidential election women comprised of 53% of the voters. In the 1988 presidential election, women were 52%. In 1992 women again comprised of 53% of voters. You can find more voting data here.
In every presidential election since 1984, women have consistently been the majority at the polls. The 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the United States‚Äô Constitution falls just months before the presidential primaries.
I have no doubt that women will once again show up to the polls in full force, but I have a challenge for you. If you are eligible to vote in the United States and you have not yet registered, go.¬†Go register right now. Don‚Äôt wait. Don‚Äôt go do it tomorrow, or the month before the final vote. Go right now and register (Find out how to register here.). And on Election Day, go cast your vote. My challenge to the women of the United States is to raise the stakes. We made up 53% of voters in the 2012 presidential election. We can do better.
So on this, the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment, I challenge the women of the United States. Let‚Äôs make our predecessors proud, every single woman eligible to vote should not only register, but actually cast a¬†ballot.¬†Make 2016 the historic election year where we all vote. #AllWomen2016
Girl Museum Inc.