Vote to Shatter the Glass Ceiling

 

On Nov. 5, 1872 a woman cast her first ballot in a US Presidential election — and she was put in jail!

You can help BREAK the “GLASS ceiling” in your life by owning the “space” that has already been given to you! When opportunities are in front of you, step into the space and occupy. Don’t lean back and make excuses, instead break through and just do it.

There are many ways to ACTIVATE positive change but today one of the biggest impacts we can each make is by VOTING!

No one can take your place to cast YOUR vote.

Each of us must own our space and cast our ballot based on our own prayerful deliberation. We have already been given enormous POWER to break the glass ceiling for every woman in America by casting our votes for candidates and policies which will impact lives. No one is going to change anything until there’s action … and today the biggest action I could do to shatter the glass ceiling in America was to VOTE.  

It is lazy and self-damaging to complain about women’s issues if we DO NOT TAKE ACTION when we have already been blessed with the gift of voting. It was not always this way for the women in this country. Women must accept the responsibilities for which much sacrifice has already been invested.

The 19th amendment, passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920, granted women in the United States the right to vote. That seems like such a clear-cut statement, but it took a lot of sacrifice to get to that point.

Women had few rights in the early years of our country. In fact, when the country was first founded rights were even taken away from women! According to Susan Milligan, a senior writer for US News, “Historians describe two waves of feminism in history: the first in the 19th century, growing out of the anti-slavery movement, and the second, in the 1960s and 1970s. Women have made great strides – and suffered some setbacks – throughout history, but many of their gains were made during the two eras of activism in favor of women’s rights.” (1) Here are a few of the dates Susan gives in her timeline of women’s rights:

In 1769 the colonies followed the English system and women could not own property or keep any money they earned.

In 1777, after the Declaration of Independence was signed declaring all men are created equal, each state passed laws taking away a woman’s right to vote.

In 1839 Mississippi became the first state to allow women to own property in their own name, but only with permission from their husbands.

In 1848 300 women and men signed the Declaration of Sentiments asking for the end of discrimination against women.

In 1866 Congress passed the 14th Amendment, defining citizens and voters as male.

1872 was a year of progress! Victoria Claflin Woodhull was nominated by the National Radical Reformers as the first female presidential candidate, women who were federal employees were guaranteed equal pay for equal work, and Susan B. Anthony voted to test the interpretation of the 14th amendment and was convicted of “unlawful voting.”

In 1890 Wyoming gave women the right to vote in all elections!

By 1900 all states passed legislation allowing married women to own property and keep their wages.

In 1916 Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1920 women were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment!

All too often we take for granted the rights we have today. Rights your great grandmother and her mother didn’t have. The generations of women who came before us fought for equality and the right to vote so you and I would be able to live the lives we are living right now!

The first major gathering for women’s rights took place in July 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York.  Elizabeth Cody Stanton, one of the organizers of the event, “drafted a ‘Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions’ that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.’”(2) This event inspired women all over the county to stand up and step out on the path to equal rights.

They marched and practiced civil disobedience, often ending up facing prosecution. They wrote and lectured on the importance of equal rights for women and that women deserve equal representation. The lobbied to lawmakers and picketed, held hunger strikes, parades, and silent vigils. These women faced retribution at home and on the streets. They were ridiculed, jailed, and even physically abused for seeking equality.

This foundation of hard work and sacrifice is what our rights are built on. This is the legacy we carry on when we exercise our rights, and it is the legacy we ignore when we choose not to exercise them.

On November 2, 1920, more than 8 million women voted for the first time. Many of those women still faced opposition at home and in their communities, but 43% of women went to the polls and cast their vote. (3) That number grows every year, and every woman who votes owes that right to the women who marched, protested, and lobbied for that right.

This year, 28,500,000 women are eligible to vote. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, female voters have outnumbered male voters in every Presidential election since 1980 and in every midterm election since 1986.(4) And every one of those votes has value. When we vote, we are saying that the course of this country matters to us. We are saying that we care about the rights of the citizens of this country and we want our faith reflected in our vote.

We have each been given much. We have the right to own property and cars and jewelry. We have the right to speak out against what we don’t believe in. We have the right to have a job and keep what we earn. We have these rights because others fought for them. We have been given much, and we must give in return!

Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Have you ever taken time to reflect on what that means in your life?

Jesus came to earth to repair our relationship with God. That is good news in the best sense of the word. He has become our conduit to God, interceding on our behalf and providing us with the Holy Spirit’s presence to guide us through our days. What He does grants us an eternal life at His side when we accept Him as savior. What He doesn’t do is live our lives for us. We still have to do the work, make the decisions, and express the power of God in our lives through every choice we make.

This is not easy. In fact, I know I couldn’t do it without Him! But the fact remains that I have to make choices every day that reflect on who I am as a child of God. And so do you!

Each of us has been given much, and each of us has been entrusted with even more. That means we are required to give much in return. Some of what we have been given comes from the sacrifices of those who came before us.

So tomorrow morning, get to your voting station and exercise your rights. You can make a difference!

 

 

 

(1) “Stepping Through History: A Timeline of Women’s Rights from 1769 to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington” by Susan Milligan. https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2017-01-20/timeline-the-womens-rights-movement-in-the-us

I encourage you to take time to read the complete timeline!

(2) https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/

(3) “The Women’s Vote in National Elections.” https://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1927053100

(4) http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/genderdiff.pdf