It’s that time of the decade again, friends: it’s votin’ time! And perhaps no one group will have as big an impact on who wins the election than us ladies. But it wasn’t always this way. Before 1920 (when women achieved elective franchise) suffragettes fought long and hard to have their voices heard. They were spat at, jailed, beaten, raped, divorced, disinherited, ostracized, and otherwise maligned simply for wanting a say in their future. Let me explain why we owe it to them to go to the polls.
Women and the 2012 presidential election
Many issues that are important to women are part of this year’s presidential election. For instance:
A women’s right to choose, which President Obama supports, but Mitt Romney does not.
The future of the Affordable Care Act, which helps insured women get birth control without a co-pay. Obama championed the passage of this Act. Romney vows to appeal it if elected.
The future of the Violence Against Women Act, which expands protection for Native American and immigrant women, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered ones. Obama supports re-authorization of the Act. Romney says he’s “not familiar with it.” >.<
Why every woman’s vote is needed NOW
So what does all this have to do with the suffragettes? Well I think, in modern times, we’ve forgotten how fragile our right to exist is. We assume that because women are now able to vote, have control over their bodies (in most states), and work for their own wages that things were always this way.
I don’t really blame the current generation of women for making this error, which many do. How would they know, except from history books, what it took to get us here? It’s easy to let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security. If you’ve never known winter, would you dream in summer that such a season would come?
But our rights as women (and as human beings) hang by a delicate thread. Our hard-won freedoms can be revoked if we’re not careful. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” If we fail to exercise our right to vote, we fail to exercise that vigilance that keeps us and our daughters safe. We run the risk of handing our futures over to other people. And those people may not have our best interests at heart.
When women don’t have a say in what happens to them, the assertion of their right to exist goes unheeded. Their contribution to society is lost. And the whole world suffers as a result.
Why is it important, if you’re a woman, to vote? Because (1) other women before you fought and yes, died so that you could do so. (2) It sets an important example for your own daughter. And (3) because if you don’t, someone else will.
And that person decides your future.
Any ladies out there plan on voting this year? If so, when did you start exercising this right and why? Let me know in the comments!
(Top image Leonard Bentley)