Once long ago, a great man and writer by the name of John Stuart Mill wrote an essay titled On Liberty. This essay that is still viewed highly today explains that a country’s well-being is based on having a “large variation in types of character.” He believed diversity should be treated with respect and questioned how anyone could rule out a certain race or sex without fully giving them a chance to show their capabilities.
Many women and men in the United States on August 26th, 1920 shared the same views as John Stuart Mill and applied the idea to expanding voting rights to women. Ninety years ago today, these people succeeded in their quest for equality in the democracy and women gained the right to vote. It is because of idealist like John Stuart Mill and all the great men and women that worked so hard to fight for a chance that young women like me are able to vote on trivial elections and presidential candidates.
I live in a generation full of shattered beliefs in the effectiveness of our votes, but I beg to differ. Before August 26th, 1920, women’s opinions on political issues didn’t even matter enough to allow us to fill out a ballot. We were considered inept when it came to matters that called for a vote. The fact that there were men and women out there who believed in our ability to critically think about important matters of our country led to the equality we see today. Now, at least our opinions are seen by the representatives.
Granted, even after ninety years we could still probably use some work, but I would say our country has traveled an amazing distance since 1920 on this issue. Women gaining the right to vote continued a revolution in this country, a revolution of the capabilities of women that will never end.
Turning 18 doesn’t just mean the end of high school and the age where you can legally smoke cigarettes. For me, it meant that I could register to vote and was able to vote in a historical presidential election with Obama vs. McCain.
I was able to be a part of that and many other votes since then. I was able to vote on the health care reform, because my opinion matters. I hear so much about how the representatives don’t have to go our way if they don’t want to, but the fact is that they probably will. After all, we vote them into office and can vote against them if they choose not to vote with the majority.
Women have been able to vote for nearly a century now, which has led to many great things for us and our country. People see us as equals now. When we go apply for a job that requires manual labor, employers don’t look at us like we’re too weak. When we apply for management positions, our interviewer doesn’t deem us incapable because we are women. We as women now have a strong impact on the workforce and have more educational opportunities than ever before. That is because we got that chance that so many thought we deserved and showed our country that it is only as a diversified whole that we obtain our full level of greatness.