There's Nothing Complicated About Ordinary Equality
Politics and Activism

There's Nothing Complicated About Ordinary Equality

"Mr.President, what will you do for women's suffrage?"

143
TimeDotCom

The presidential election is right around the country and soon, men and women alike will be taking to the polls to cast a vote for their candidate of choice. It's hard to believe that less than 100 hundred years ago, women did not have the right to vote in any election. In honor of Women's Equality Day (August 26), a day set aside to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment and to call attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality, I'm sharing a brief history of one of my favorite historical figures: the suffragette Alice Paul. While Paul is only one of the many suffragettes who contributed to the cause for women's right to vote, she was a dynamic leader who motivated and empowered women around her to take hold of their own lives and to make a change.

After graduating with a degree in biology from Swarthmore College, Alice Paul traveled to England to study social work practices. Alice Paul joined the suffragette movement in England, believing that the English suffragettes had uncovered the key to equality that continued to elude American suffragettes. When Alice Paul returned to America in 1910, she was ready to re-energize the American campaign for women’s right to vote. Alice Paul and her two friends, Lucy Burns and Crystal Eastman, headed to Washington D.C to organize a publicity event that would gain national attention.They organized an elaborate parade of women to march up Pennsylvania Avenue and disrupt the presidential inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. Alice Paul wanted to hold President Wilson and his party responsible for the disenfranchisement of women.

In 1916, Paul and her followers formed the National Women’s Party. The National Women’s Party organized silent protests in which suffragettes would stand outside the white house holding banners with messages directed at President Wilson. At first, the public was more or less indifferent towards the silent protests. But after the United States entered World War I, the suffragettes were seen as unpatriotic and were attacked by angry mobs. Many suffragettes, including Alice Paul, were eventually arrested and imprisoned for their demonstrations.They were subjected to acts of brutality and poor living conditions while kept in prison.

In protest of their arrests, Paul and some of her followers staged hunger strikes.These hunger strikes were often met with brutal force feedings for the participating suffragettes. Prison officials later removed Alice Paul from the prison and sent her to an asylum in the hopes of getting her declared insane. Eventually, news of the hunger strikes and prison conditions reached the public and the public began to demand the release of the women.The general public began to sympathize with the prisoners and the fight for women’s suffrage quickly gained new support.In response to the public outcry of support for the suffragettes, President Wilson reversed his prior position and announced his support for a suffrage amendment. Alice Paul and her followers were released from prison and together, they anxiously awaited the ratification of the 19th amendment.

It's been 96 years. 96 years full of female voices fighting for their own rights, for the rights of others, for a fair and just government. If Alice Paul were still alive, she would want every citizen to know that every voice out there matters, and not to let anyone tell you otherwise. Paul once said,"I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated, But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality." Happy Women's Equality Day everyone, keep fighting the good fight.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

I was never really big on cocktails. Tequila soda is always a go-to drink for me because of its simplicity and, to be honest, lack of extra calories from mixers chock-full of sugar, chemicals, and other unknown ingredients. I like tequila, and like to be able to really savor it.

This all changed when, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine made me a margarita from scratch — no funky mixers involved — and it tasted incredible. It was light, refreshing, and complemented the tequila without overpowering it.

Keep Reading... Show less

I was blessed with thick, full hair up until my late teens. At the time, I cursed my hairiness — this was before full eyebrows became trendy or cool, and were instead a point of bullying many of my fellow full-browed teens can relate to.

Later in my 20s, hormonal stability was something I was thankful for, though a major side effect ended up being hair loss — on my head, lashes, and brows. I now find my filling in my brows on an almost daily basis. As much as I enjoy toying with and testing out different brow-filling products, it'll never be quite the same as being able to have "I woke up like this" full, Gigi Hadid-esque brows.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, A Reminder We Need Even More In Quarantine

You're going through something brand new — that's worth talking about.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This isn't new to 2020, but oh man, if we ever needed a reminder about the importance of mental health, now is the time. With different states all over the place in regard to stay-at-home orders, phased reopenings, and a "new normal," we're experiencing conflict, fear, changes, and unknowns that can easily trigger mental struggles we already have or spark feelings we've never had before. Yes, May is always Mental Health Awareness Month, but in quarantine, that need for positive mental health is taken to a whole new level.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Everyone is LOVING "Outer Banks," as you've probably heard. And if you haven't caught the hype for the show yet, these articles will definitely give you a taste of what you're missing.

If you already have seen and fallen in love with the teen heartthrob crew, you need to get on board with some of these theories for season two!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments