America votes on November 8, 2016, for their next President. Megan wrote this essay shortly after Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Presidential nominee. You may wonder – why would a website about multiples publish an essay on Hillary Clinton just before this important day? Because as women and citizens of the world who care about what happens to women, not just in America, but worldwide. We believe in a candidate who is best qualified to run the strongest country in the world. We believe that glass ceilings have been broken and will continue to be. We believe in a world where girls and women believe that they can do anything, undeterred and unfettered by their gender. – Editors
“If America’s going to lead we need to learn from the women of the world who have blazed new path. Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes.”
– Hillary Clinton
As Americans go about their day in the comfortable cocoon of freedom and democracy, let’s not fail to acknowledge the significance of June 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton made history by securing enough delegates to be the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. As the partisan attitudes divide our nation and polarize us against each other, let’s take a step back and realize that we have just voted a woman into the race for Presidency for the first time in history.
Only 96 years ago, women in America were fighting for the right to cast a vote in elections. Our voice didn’t matter. Our opinions were invalid. We were trusted to run homes and businesses and raise children to become future entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, and honorable citizens, but we weren’t allowed to mark our ballot to elect our next great leaders.
Early feminists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton created the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1890. Women united to write, march, lecture, lobby and engage in civil disobedience in order to convince the country that they were not inferior to men and deserved the same rights. Women were thrown in jail and went on hunger strikes and then forcibly fed, all to fight for the right to vote.
Susan B. Anthony is quoted as saying as she fought for equal rights for women, “Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.”
If Ms. Anthony were a fly on the wall of the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the night of Hillary Clinton’s speech after winning California, she would have stood proudly as a woman. Would she ever have imagined that in less than a century, women would not only have equal rights to vote, but a woman would be standing in front of the world as the Democratic Presidential nominee? It is a new century in America – the 21st century – where it is possible to be of another race and gender and also be the leader of the free world.
I have three daughters and they will never really know a world where women were treated as lesser human beings than men. My daughters will not experience what it’s like to be told they shouldn’t work outside the home, or be told by our government they are not allowed to vote. I am teaching my girls that they are strong enough, smart enough, and ambitious enough to hold down any job in the world, just like a man.
My mom was a feminist growing up in the free-thinking hippie era of the 1960s, who always taught me that a woman can do anything a man can. She told me that I could be President of the United States one day if I wanted to. But as a youth, it is difficult to really believe that a woman can be President when in the history of the Presidency a woman has never even been in the running for the nomination. Throughout the 2016 primary, my husband and I have made a point to talk to our children about the significance of a woman making it as the presumptive Democratic nominee – how this is a monumental time in history and what it means for them, and their children and grandchildren.
Presidential Nominee Clinton paid homage to her mother and the women who fought for equal social and political rights nearly a century ago: “This past Saturday would have been her 97th birthday. She was born on June 4th, 1919 and some of you may know the significance of that date. On the very day my mother was born in Chicago, Congress was passing the 19th amendment to the constitution. That amendment finally gave women the right to vote. And I really wish my mother could be here tonight.”
We are a country divided on candidates and ideology, but for now let’s put it all aside — Republican versus Democrat, Trump versus Hillary, the debate over gun control – and recognize this day as a remarkable day in history when we can be proud of a country that has come so far to provide every citizen equality to achieve and succeed based on their personal qualifications rather than the color of their skin or the inherent chromosomal makeup. Our children will remember this time in history forever when a woman broke down the gender walls for all of us and used her courage and intelligence to go places no woman has been before.
This essay appeared originally on The Huffington Post.
Megan Woolsey is the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated, writer, and publisher living in Northern California with a very supportive husband and a wild bunch of red-headed children – a set of triplets and their big sister. Megan has been published in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, Bonbon Break, Mamalode, In The Powder Room and is an essayist in two anthologies. When Megan needs a break from the kids, you can find her perusing her social media pages – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.