More than two centuries ago, our powdered-wig-wearing—and in some cases, wooden-toothed—Founding Fathers took their quill pens and inked out a political framework to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, printed on this delicate piece of parchment paper, one phrase, “All men are created equal,” may very well have laid the foundation for the subsequent suffrage movement.
In 1910, legions of disgruntled women, who (for obvious reasons) expressed disdain for a system that granted voting rights solely to male property owners, set out to change the status quo. As we know by now, these female pioneers were successful in their efforts. But it wasn’t easy. Many suffragettes (my grandmother included) chained themselves to courthouse doors, picketed the White House, staged suffrage marches—and even spent a few nights in jail. And did the ends justify the means? You bet.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 90 women currently serve in the U.S. Congress, with 17 in the Senate and 73 in the House. Additionally, the center reports there are 72 women in statewide elective executive posts, and the proportion of women in state legislatures is 24.5 percent.
There may be a disproportionate number of female officeholders, but when it comes to casting ballots, women are breaking records (the number of female voters in recent elections has significantly exceeded the number of male voters), and perhaps soon, will shatter any remaining glass ceilings.