Democracy Matters - Episode 11: Women Breaking Barriers: A Timeline

by Carah Ong Whaley


SUMMARY: 2019-2020 marks the 100th anniversary since the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which articulated that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The 19th amendment was the result of centuries of activism and contributions from many social movements to ensure through the highest law of the land a "right through which all other rights could be secured." But as suffragist leader Frances Harper observed in 1893, "I do not think the mere extension of the ballot a panacea for all the ills of our national life. What we need to-day is not simply more voters, but better voters." Kearstin Kimm, a senior Computer Science major at James Madison University, spent her summer as a Democracy Fellow at the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement researching the history of women’s rights in what we now know as the United States and the 19th amendment. Using her knowledge and technical expertise, she created a comprehensive timeline beginning in 1619 up to present day. In this episode, Kearstin discusses the timeline, which includes entries related to progress and challenges to the status of women, with photos and links to primary source documents.

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Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, April 28, 2022

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