I got this email from my mom (who always took me to vote with her and taught me how precious a right it was for women). I changed it a bit so it was easier to read and share from my perspective, growing up post Title IX. Please copy, paste and pass this on to women and girls in your life.
And here is a world time line of women's suffrage:
This is amazing history......and what our formothers did for you and for me, for our children and our progeny.
It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. The women were jailed for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
The full and real story is not in many history books. But we need to remember or learn about events like the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917. By the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh MY memory. Some women won't vote this year because - Why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?
Check out HBO's 'Iron Jawed Angels.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Jawed_Angels)It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say.
After watching it one woman commented 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.' HBO recently released the movie on video and DVD.
Women are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order. Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C. it is shocking to watch Woodrow Wilson and his 'cronies' try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized for wanting to vote
And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote. Teach your daughters, your sons this is important and fairly new to female Americans. In 1979 Iranian women were stripped of the right to vote. In Saudi Arabia and many other countries women do NOT have the right to vote (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage) and it can happen under the right (or wrong) circumstances again.
Stand up for yourself and be counted. Not voting is making a decision too. This is one of my huge passions (clearly LOL). If I only pass a few things to those that come after me, I hope it's to be kind, loving, stand up for yourself, and Vote. Every. Election. Just the act is the important part. I hate the phone calls, the intrusion on my family life and the mailings etc. as much as anyone else. But the act of voting means something real.
As the song goes in Mary Poppins:
Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sign in grateful chorus
"Well done, Sister Suffragette!"