Milestone, Not a Finish Line
by Annabel Roth
Throwing it back 100 years to May 21, 1919, the United States House of Representatives passed the 19th Amendment to grant women the right to vote. Shoutout to those congressmen who saw the need for women in government and saw the obvious need for half the population to have a democratic voice. Interestingly, in 1917 before women’s suffrage, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in Congress. Today, I say with excitement and promise that this centennial marker is a milestone, not a finish line.
As an aspiring political girl boss, I am so inspired to be celebrating this centennial while interning on Capitol Hill for my congresswoman, Representative Martha Roby. Recent political events have made me proud of the women voicing their opinions, no matter the side of the issue. Men and women continue to push the boundaries for equality and clearly that fight is not over. The fight does not call for you to come yelling with pitchforks, but to use your knowledge and power to fight for the women coming behind you.
From Goat Hill to Capitol Hill, we still see women taking a step back because some believe a man is more fit for public office. This often happens because we have mostly other men in office to compare our candidates to. Think for example about female candidates for President. They might seem unusual, or unfit, for the job because society can subconsciously not picture a woman in a position that has been occupied by men since the beginning of our democracy. Coming to the end of my college career, I have seen the power women have in their confidence to break these molds. Have the guts to ask yourself “What do I have to lose?”. Otherwise, your hesitancy to stand out and speak up adds even more reinforcement to that glass ceiling we’re all trying to break.
From the incredible women in my life and the elected officials I have had the chance to work for, I am often reminded that empowered women, empower women. I am thankful for my fearless sisters, supportive parents, strong grandparents, and the many men and women I have never met that have paved the road since 1919 that I walk on today. Happy 100 years of earned recognition for the power of our voice; let’s keep using it for 1,000 more.