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Well done Sister Suffragette

Posted by Meg Bear on August 27, 2008


In my family the women are taking over.  It happened on my mother’s side in her generation.  She had one sister.  On my father’s side it was my generation.  I have one sister and one [female] cousin.  My sister has two girls as do I.  

My upbringing was not particularly political, my general education on the US Constitution was pretty spotty as well.  In high school the “women’s issues” we tended to cover were around Nancy Regan’s wardrobe and if there was a discussion about the 19th amendment I do not remember it.  

I was not really aware that the ratification of the amendment was 88 years old this week until I hear about it on Twitter and I was surprised at the emotions that the topic has brought out in me.  As I consider the opportunities I have had in my life and those that are available to my girls I realize that in 1922 a challenge to a women’s right to vote was taken all the way to the Supreme Court.    I realize that when I gave my youngest the middle name of Cady it did not spark historical recognition in any member of my family, even my father who is a history buff, had never heard of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

So, for those of us educated in the US, or just not paying attention in our teen years, I found this timeline of women’s suffrage a good read, especially noting that there are entries as late as 2006.  I know that we have additional mountains to climb here in the US, in the area of equal and human rights, but I want to say thank you to those who have gone before me, providing opportunities I would not have had otherwise due to my unfortunate gender.

I also would like to give a hat tip to Mrs. Banks and the men who wrote the excellent song below.

We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusaders for woman’s votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid!

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From ev’ry corner of the land:
“Womankind, arise!”
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart! For Missus Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We’re fighting for our rights, militantly!
Never you fear!

So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done! Well done!
Well done Sister Suffragette!”

One Response to “Well done Sister Suffragette”

  1. Gretchen said

    Suffrage is a Soapbox Issue for me, so I’ll leave that discussion to another venue. However….

    I majored in American Studies in college. Until then, most of what I knew about women’s suffrage came from the fight to pass the ERA, and the uproar over the Susan B Anthony dollar. In college there was a lot of emphasis on putting changes like suffrage, or labor strife, or international policies, into historical perspective. The US is still a relatively young country, and as such, we don’t always understand how many small changes must happen to add up to a large change.

    It’s a good thing for us to keep in mind, whether discussing social change, or change management within a company…what small steps, or individual actions are you taking, and where will they lead in 10, 20, or 100 years?

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