My grandmother was a suffragette. And today is her birthday. She'd be 115 today. Her name was Amelia Loving.
I honor her memory this election season by raising my own consciousness regarding sexism in our society, especially rearing up now in the Clinton/Obama battle for the Presidency. The term women's suffrage refers to the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage ? the right to vote ? to women. The movement's origins are usually traced to the United States in the 1820s. Women received the right to vote a full 100 years after the Black Man, in 1920. The answer to which country was the first to give women the right to vote in national elections is usually credited to New Zealand.
Today women's suffrage is considered a right (under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), although a few countries, mainly in the Middle East, continue to deny voting rights to women. Women in New Zealand were inspired to fight for their voting rights by the equal-rights philosopher John Stuart Mill and the activism of British feminists. In addition, the missionary efforts of the American-based Women's Christian Temperance Union gave them the motivation to fight. There were, in fact, a few male politicians that supported women's rights, such as John Hall, Robert Stout, Julius Vogel and William Fox. In 1878, 1879, and 1887 amendments extending the vote to women failed by a hair each time.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first major self-governing country in the world to give women the vote. Although the Liberal government which passed the bill generally advocated social and political reform, the electoral bill was only passed because of a combination of personality issues and political accident. The bill granted the vote to women of all races. New Zealand women were not given the right to stand for parliament, however, until 1918. In 2005, almost a third of the Members of Parliament elected were female.
Women recently are also in prestigious positions such as prime minister, Governor-General and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and chief justice. In sharp contrast to New Zealand, the United States has only recently elected a woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who oddly, from my point of view, does not support Hillary Clinton for President. As Hillary Clinton moves to secure the popular vote, with the help of her loyal supporters, including myself, we all have had to look at the ugly reality of hatred towards women in our American Society. A You Tube Video, depicting Hillary as a witch, a *itch, showing the likes of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews spewing hateful, sexist slurs that honestly hurt all women, and these examples were representative of many months of such bashing: Sent me directly to my local NBC affiliate to protest media bias, and to say that I was boycotting the station. I held a sign that said on one side: Stop Media Bias!! On the other side of the sign: Media Bias Suppresses Votes!! Also, my companion wore a white plastic bag that said: Count Every Vote!! Several days later, the folks in Florida sued the DNC (Democratic National Committee) for not settling this problem of vote suppression long before this.
It took a few days to organize the protest, and one other lovely woman was there, as well. Several newscasters came out and got a statement, but I don't know if it was aired or not, since I no longer watch the station! It was raining, and it was a cold rain. People passing in their cars beeped their horns in sympathy to the cause. One elderly gentleman bought us a cup of coffee and cookies.
He said, "Thank you for what you are doing!!" Hillary has stood up for Women's rights for 40 years, long before she ever met her husband, our former President, Bill Clinton. And now, she has opened a dialogue whereby a National Gender Re-education is taking place. And she is not going to give up. Her supporters continue to give her money. We continue to protest Locally and Nationally for equal representation for every man, woman and child.
We will carry her all the way to the convention, just as a person is carried after she wins a major seemingly insurmountable challenge. My grandmother nods approvingly. But this fight does not end here.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: http://www.nursingcareertransformation.com Check Out Kate's Blog: http://www.nursehealers.typepad.com -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-