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Today marks two hundred years since the birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton on November 12, 1815. With Election Day only a week behind us, it seems appropriate now more than ever to remember a woman who (along with other leaders like Susan B. Anthony) fought for women’s rights both inside and outside voting booths. As a young woman – and someone who studies feminism and women’s issues! – I think it is so important to pay tribute to the brave and outspoken women who have helped us pave the way towards equality. Suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton (people who fought for women’s suffrage, the right to vote) made it more possible for people like you and me to have our voices heard not just on Election Day, but every day.
More than other leaders of the women’s movement, Elizabeth wanted to improve conditions for women beyond voting; she fought for issues related to the family, the economy, and even some social privileges (like riding a bike in public!). As president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, Elizabeth helped move towards some of these goals and, of course, contributed to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (which gave women the right to vote) eighteen years after she passed away.
Yesterday I happened to drive through Seneca Falls, New York, where Elizabeth Cady Stanton held and delivered a speech at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Elizabeth’s speech and the Convention itself are considered to be some of the first real strides towards women’s suffrage and beyond that, gender equality in America. With a long year of presidential campaigning ahead of us, let’s remember people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who worked so hard to give us women and girls the chance to participate in politics and so much more!
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