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Thank Susan for Suffrage this Women’s History Month

March 18, 2016

Last year, NNEDV re-imagined and re-launched our online store. We worked as a team to develop product ideas that channel the core of the work we do. We decided unanimously to honor pioneering women that have had an impact on our lives through one such product, our “Feminists&Me” tee. In 2016, we are honoring each woman through our “Spotlight on Feminists” series. See the rest of the posts here.

March is Women’s History Month, a necessary awareness-raising month as the fight for equality continues. At the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), we are celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring Susan B. Anthony, one of the founding mothers of our nation’s feminist movement. Her legacy is monumental—to date, she remains only one of two women to have been featured on U.S. currency (the other being Sacajawea, who was integral to the completion of the Lewis and Clark Expedition).

Susan B. Anthony was a fierce crusader fighting for women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery, and temperance. It was her participation in the temperance movement that led to her staunch advocacy for women’s suffrage: as a woman, she was barred from speaking at temperance rallies, despite her more than fifteen years of experience as a teacher. [1] Anthony realized that no one would take women seriously in politics if they were not allowed to vote.

Joined by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, and traveled the country encouraging others to support women’s suffrage. Despite pushback, Anthony refused to be silenced. While Anthony was never able to legally vote, her steadfast commitment paved the way for the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which granted women the right to vote. Voting is a right that has been – and continues to be – denied to so many, both in the United States and around the world. While the Nineteenth Amendment granted all women the right to vote, it was many years until all women were able to fully exercise that right. For example, state laws prohibited many Black women from voting in the South. It was not until the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s that Black women in this part of the country would truly be able to vote. [2]

NNEDV continues to push for legislation that empowers women, survivors, and other historically marginalized populations. In 2013, during the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), NNEDV pushed for stronger, more inclusive protections and won – for the first time, protections for LGBT victims, Native women, immigrants, and others were enshrined in Federal law. Like Anthony, we strive for a better, brighter, equal future.

NNEDV celebrates Anthony’s legacy as a suffragist and encourages all Americans to be conscious of employing the rights she helped to ensure. The best way to honor the sacrifices that scores of suffragists made in the long fight for universal suffrage is through continued political engagement. As Anthony herself said, “…[T]here will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” [3]

[1] “Biography of Susan B. Anthony.” National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.

[2] “African American Women and Suffrage.” (2007). National Women’s History Museum.

[3] “Documented Rights.” The National Archives.