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Women’s Suffrage – We’ve Come Along Way Baby!

July 22, 2011

Women’s Suffrage

I just listen to a book on tape called “The Lake of Dreams” by Kim Edwards and was delighted with the story and the fictionalized telling of the early women’s suffrage movement.  The story unfolds with finding some long hidden letters and an old woven blanket and stained glass windows.  I was reminded that women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920.  But the women’s rights advocates had begun many years before. This excerpt from the Votes for Women’ timeline shows that it was definitely in the thoughts and hearts of women since  1776:

Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John, who is attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asking that he and the other men–who were at work on the Declaration of Independence–“Remember the Ladies.” John responds with humor. The Declaration’s wording specifies that “all men are created equal.”

I guess John didn’t understand what Abigail meant or he just ignored it.

I was also amazed and dismayed that the Comstock Law of 1873 made it illegal to send anything in the mail that was “‘obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious’, including contraceptive devices and information.”  Women were sent to jail for helping other women learn to take care of their bodies and to learn about contraption.  It almost seems like we were still in the middle ages.  It really made me want to learn more about the early suffrages like: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul. The Comstock Law:

“not only targeted pornography as such, but also all contraceptive equipment and many educational documents such as descriptions of contraceptive methods and other reproductive health-related materials. The ban on contraceptives was declared unconstitutional by the courts in 1936, though the remaining portions of the law continue to be enforced today. The current law on obscenity is expressed in the Miller test.”

I don’t know what portions are still enforced today, but it seems sad that it took 63 years before it was permissible to give out health related materials.

I am thankful for my right to vote, to hold a job, have property in my name and the many other rights we take for granted now but I still would like to see more women in positions of authority.  Women offer so much and are better able to meet the needs of others without letting testosterone get in the way.  Maybe it’s time to have women in charge! Perhaps there won’t be as many wars if there were.  What do you think?

 

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