It’s been 100 years since the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States after years of being discriminated against in the democratic process because of their gender.
And while the amendment’s passage and ratification was a much-deserved victory for women in the U.S. and a credit to all of the suffragettes, civil rights activists and others who worked to bring attention to the issue, in many ways it was also the beginning of a new struggle for representation and visibility in the political process. It’s a challenge that is still being fought across the country to this day, and while a lot of progress has been made since the passage of the 19th Amendment, and while there are a number of political action committees and grassroots organizations that focus specifically on identifying and preparing women to run for office, many of the women who operate in the field of politics will tell you there’s still plenty of work to be done to continue to increase visibility for women in politics, particularly women of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Today on AirTalk, in observance of Women’s Equality Day, we’ll look back at the passing of the 19th Amendment, the history of women’s participation in politics since its passing and how that has evolved into women’s participation in politics today.
Kelly Dittmar, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden (NJ), director of research at Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics and co-author of the book “A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Representation Matters” (Oxford University Press, 2018); she tweets @kdittmar