Updated: May 17
Yes, August Ends Today...
...and so does our Suffrage Month. And what a month it has been! In case you missed some of our blogs, scroll down and you’ll find links to all of them.
There's More, of course
There’s so much more that Kendra and I want to write about the inspiring women who started the suffrage movement and those who continued the fight until finally the 19th Amendment passed and was ratified. The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment meant women were able to vote in all states—in 1920.
Of course, the Nineteenth Amendment did not guarantee the right to vote for all women. First of all, the constitutionality of the amendment was challenged in the 1922 Leser v Garnett case with the argument that two women who registered to vote should not have been allowed because Maryland had not ratified the amendment. The Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment. It’s an interesting argument and here’s a link if you’d like to read it.
BUT Not All Women Could Vote
Black, Indigenous, and Asian American women still could not vote. Some of those issues were addressed in the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, the Civil Right Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 expanded Asian-American voting rights (partially addressed in the McCarran-Walter Act) even further by adding protections and accommodations for voters with limited English, such as access to translators and ballots in multiple languages.
We’ll return to this topic in 2023...
...when we once again declare August to be Suffrage Month. Meanwhile, we will continue to research the amazing women of the suffrage movement.
"But What About Today," You Ask
I know. I know. August isn't really over. We still have today.
In this final RosieCentral blog for August 2022, I thought I'd connect the dots from the first recorded concern for women’s rights through the suffrage movement and into the current and even future concerns for women's rights.
My problem was, “how do I do that?” After researching the topic and taking several passes in writing the blog, I finally got an idea and hope you find it interesting.
Look at Dates and Do the Math
Let’s go back to 1776 when Abigail Adams — that wonderful and possibly first recorded feminist — wrote to her husband to consider the rights of women. She felt that since America would have a new legal system and would no longer be bound by the laws of British rule, there should be more rights for women.
Unfortunately, while John respected his wife and seems to have paid serious attention to her suggestions, he thought the idea of rights for women -- including the right to vote and the right to own property -- was ridiculous. Perhaps he felt it would be difficult enough to form a single union without getting into these additional issues. After all, slavery almost proved to be the breaking point — separating the north and the south. John Adams may have thought rights for women would have shattered any coalitions.
However it happened, the United States began without rights for women.
First Bit of Math
Here’s the first bit of math that I mentioned above. Let's start with the year 1776 when Abigail wrote her husband:
“I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice or Representation.”
<<RosieCentral NOTE: The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had all wanted to break away from England because they were subject to laws that they had no way to vote on. Yet these same men thought it just fine that women would be subject to laws for which they had “no voice or Representation.” Today we might say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Clearly the Founding Fathers didn't see it that way.>>
The Math: 1776 + 72 Equals 1848
Seventy two years after Abigail wrote her now-famous letter, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Jane Hunt gathered to explore the issue of social justice for women and called for a convention -- now known at the Seneca Falls Convention. At the convention, the issue of women's right to vote divided the group, but was passed by a majority vote.
The Next Math: 1776 + 72 + 72 Equals 1920
What do we get when we add another 72 years to our 1848 date? Well, we get 1920, the year when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and women across American could vote.
The $64,000 (just kidding) Math: 1776 + 72 + 72 + 72 Equals 1992
And what do we get when we add another 72 years to our 1920 date? We get 1992, which is also significant. 1992 was called the Year of the Woman. That was the year that four women were elected to the US Senate -- the most in history. These were Patty Murray, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the US Senate. This meant there were six female senators (counted is Barbara Mikulski who won re-election and Nancy Kassebaum who was not up for re-election). By June of the following year, Kay Bailey Hutchison joined the ranks of female senators. And two dozen women were elected to first terms in the House. Real progress.
The Final Math: 1776 + 72 + 72 + 72 + 72 Equals 2064
Adding another 72 years to our base of 1776 takes us into the future -- all the way to 2064.
I believe that every year there is progress on women's rights. Most of it is positive progress, but some is negative. If you want to read about international progress made for gender equality for the year 2021, CLICK HERE.
Create your list of gender equality rights that matter to you. We'll give you a list (in parens) just to get you thinking. Make this a list of women's rights issues that are important to you. (Starting list of ideas: child care, health care, mental health, employment, racial justice, LGBTQ, violence against women, higher representation in government and business, voter suppression. Now add your own ideas.)
Narrow down your list to just one or two women's rights issues that really matter to you. Then see what YOU can do to work on that issue. What groups might your join so that your voice can be heard? What individual actions might you take to create a positive outcome? What is your timeline? What can you do this year? Next year? How much time can you devote to the issue? Who else might you get to join you in taking action?
OR -- Find just one thing you can do to make a woman's life better, more equitable and then do it. You will have made a contribution to gender equality. Every bit helps.
Think This is Impossible?
It's not. Just consider making a personal commitment to creating a better world for women -- for you, for your children or grandchildren, for those in your community, etc. So many have worked for the rights we now have and it's our turn to work for other women.
Abigail Adams was a Founding Mother and is a real inspiration for us at RosieCentral. We hope she's also an inspiration for you. That caused us to research her life as well as the type of clothing worn by colonial / revolutionary women. After watching lots of videos and reading history websites, we decided to put together a Colonial Costume Accessory Set.
Neckerchief / Shawl,
Abigail Adams Brooch/Button.
(Of course, you could use these accessories as a pioneer prairie woman helping to open up the west. They were also inspirational women and helped shape this country.)
ALL YOU NEED: Add a long dress or skirt and scoop neck tee (not included) and put on these items in our 6 item Colonial Founding-Mother Costume Set:
• White lace mob cap
• Tuck the neckerchief/shawl into the neckline of the shirt
• Add Abigail Adams Button to hold the neckerchief in place
• Tie the apron around your waist
• Pull on the over-the-knee stockings
• Tie the garter above the knee
and you'll Be a Founding Mother who helped shape this country.
Celebrate the Founding Mothers who helped shape this country. Think of Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Cochran Corbin, Elizabeth Hamilton, and others. The items in this well-researched costume accessory kit acknowledge the women of the 1770s.
Wear these Founding Mother accessories to honor ALL the strong women throughout America’s history who have worked to make this a better nation.
FOUNDING MOTHER KIT is a great costume for Halloween, historic reenactments, America250 celebrations, cosplay, photo sessions, educational teaching, school and amateur plays, pageants, marches, parties, etc.
• [FOUNDING MOTHER / REVOLUTIONARY / COLONIAL COSTUME ACCESSORIES. 6 ITEMS] Mob Cap, Neckerchief/Shawl, Apron, Over-the- Knee Stockings, Garter, Abigail Adams Brooch/Button to hold Neckerchief in place. Add a long dress or skirt and scoop neck tee (not included) and Be a Founding Mother who helped shape this country.
• [FOUNDING MOTHER MOB CAP] Authentic 1770s style white cap worn by women in Colonial times to keep hair clean and to hide un-styled hair. It was both practical and stylish. Circular shape has an elastic band to keep it in place. Fits most head sizes.
• [COLONIAL FOUNDING MOTHER NECKERCHIEF / KERCHIEF / SHAWL] Founding Mothers wore a triangular neckerchief for modesty. The two ends are crossed in the front and tucked in the scoop-necked shirt or simply tied and left on the outside. This was the everyday style. The kerchiefs were made of cotton, linen, or silk. Ours is made of cotton.
• [COLONIAL 1770s WHITE APRON] White apron is designed to let you self-fit it. Unique contract/expand gathers -- more fabric or less fabric to the front. Then just tie in the back. Colonial women wore aprons to protect their garments from wear and to keep them clean.
• [REVOLUTIONARY / COLONIAL / FOUNDING MOTHER STOCKINGS] We call them socks, but in the 1770s, women called them stockings. Back then you had to hand-knit your pairs. For our modern day version, we’re grateful for the invention of spandex which helps them stay up better. One size fits most women — sock size 9-11. Black.
• [COLONIAL FOUNDING MOTHER GARTER] Revolutionary 1770s women kept their stockings up with garters. Most of the garters were pieces of ribbon (remember no elastic!). And since a woman often embroidered her garter (just so she could feel pretty even though no one could see), we made ours of jacquard embroidered flowers in yellow, gray, and black. The garter, 3/4 inch, can be tied to keep stockings up over the knee or tied just under the knee. For daytime use, the garters were typically tied over the knee. But if you were going to a dance where you would be more active, you probably tied the garter just below the knees.
• [COLONIAL FOUNDING MOTHER ABIGAIL ADAMS BROOCH/BUTTON] Colonial brooches were often hand-painted miniatures. This button brooch is our unique drawing of a pastel portrait of Abigail Adams—painted in 1766, soon after she married John. The button brooch is a 2.75 x 1.75 oval with a drawn gold filagree frame — similar to what would have been used in the mid-18th century. We suggest you pin the brooch to hold the neckerchief in place once it is tucked in the blouse/top. Of course, you can use this brooch button over and over again to acknowledge the importance of Founding Mother Abigail Adams. Wear it on a blouse, pin it to a backpack, etc.