“Upon their shoulders, women won the vote

Upon our Shoulders, we celebrate and protect the vote”

a black and white photograph of women marching for the right to vote 100 years ago

To The Next 100 Years

Before and during the 20th century, women joined the Suffrage Movement and protests, including marches, rallies, the first picket lines of the White House; arrest, detention and jail, to extend to women a fundamental right to representation. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in August 1920, guaranteeing women the right to vote.


California’s Capital Celebrates Women’s Right to Vote

Since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, work begun by Suffragists continues to advance the equality of women in all political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of life in the United States. In recognition of the crucial role the 19th Amendment played in promoting core democratic values, our State Capital Centennial Celebration on August 22 honors this legacy and its significance in the ongoing struggle for equality for all.

“Upon their shoulders, women won the vote
Upon our shoulders, we celebrate and protect the vote”

The Imperfect, Unfinished Work of Women’s Suffrage

…Some of the first suffrage laws passed in this country stripped women of a right they had previously held. New York’s voting laws, for instance, originally included mention of “he or she” and “his or her ballot,” but, in 1777, the state struck the female pronouns, disenfranchising its women. Massachusetts did the same thing in 1780, and New Hampshire in 1784. After the ratification of the United States Constitution, which required states to write their own election laws, the voting rights of women were revoked everywhere except for New Jersey, where apparently everything was legal—until 1807, when the Garden State got around to ending women’s suffrage, too.

…The idea that women were always going to get the right to vote in the United States ignores the reality that they only got that right in Switzerland in 1971 and in Saudi Arabia in 2015. Worse, the feeling of inevitability also conveys a sense of irreversibility, as if history always advances, and never stalls, or regresses.The women of New Jersey knew that that could happen in the United States, because it already had—and it is still happening, as women of color in states such as Georgia and North Carolina understand all too well.

…Disenfranchisement can take many forms, and its most insidious manifestations are regrettably common: purging voter rolls, passing voter-identification requirements, understaffing or closing polling places, gerrymandering voting districts. Under the circumstances, perhaps the best way to celebrate the anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment is to remember all those who cannot vote, not only those who can.