Every election is important but this one in particular is so very important for all of us women to get out and vote. This is a right that was hard-won by many women before us. For us to help shape policies and programs that support women and family, we need to exercise our right to vote. It has been said that women will determine the outcome of this election.

This is a right that has been long time coming for all women

Women’s right to vote came in 1920 with the Nineteenth Constitutional Amendment. It passed in Congress on June 4, then was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law. It took decades of fighting to achieve this victory—decades after black men were given the vote.

As I have read and watched programs about the suffragette movement, there was little mention of the role of black women. I have since learned how powerful their presence was during that time. Black women worked very hard for this campaign but were not recognized due to a variety of issues. One was the need to court the Southern women to fight for the vote so there was what appears to be a conscious decision to not include the presence of black women in the media or history books. The exceptions were Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.

This pattern of not including black women has continued even into the civil rights movement with MLK. There were key black women who were not allowed to speak at those historic moments. Yet, they were the backbone of the movement. More recently, there are two movements in the news more often these days: #BlackLivesMatter was created by three black women, Opel Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza. The #MeToo movement was created by a black woman, Tarana Burke.

Crises in history have led to regression in opportunities for women

In times of crisis, it is the women who are left home to take care of the children, the home and the fields or work as men went off to fight or work. Now, our elderly family members are often in need of care. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) illustrates these unique challenges that women have. She moved her child and her mother into her home so she can care for them as well as homeschool her child while she works from home in her capacity as a Senator during the pandemic. More than ever, self-care will be a critical for each person in this situation.

Current schooling uncertainty leads to gender biased decisions

The impact of caring for children rests most often on the woman in the family. This is true for single parents, regardless of gender.  I chose to focus on women here as the burden in a binary couple is most often placed on the woman. Childcare options have always been difficult but even more so during this coronavirus pandemic.  Here is an opportunity for creating an innovative policy to support our society in a way that is inclusive of the needs of women and their families. Let us view other cultures with successful childcare and elder care policies. Many of these changes most likely need to happen at the state level so to accommodate the unique regional needs of each part of our country.

Women are the heart and backbone of every society in every culture yet often are undervalued and marginalized regarding their health and well-being. Empowering women through the power of social media and politics allows all of our voices to be heard as never before. Each woman who speaks of what her needs are speaks to all women and those who have been raised by them.

One step to truly support women would be to finally have Universal Health Care for all. Let’s consider what candidates support this right for all.  If women are healthier, so are their children. Our society could flourish at a whole new level if women citizens are truly supported.

Register to vote in your district. Consider a mail-in ballot. Make an informed decision and vote this year! To get voting information for your location, go to vote411.org.

In good health,

Judith

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