KIMT News 3 – It has been nearly a century since women in the U.S. won their right to vote, and to honor that, Tuesday August 26th has been named as Women’s Equality Day.
The 19th Amendment was certified on this day back in 1920, which secured women’s right to vote during any election. Thousands of women played a role in making this dream a reality, including one woman from north Iowa.
Carrie Chapman Catt, a Charles City native and 1880 graduate of Iowa State University, devoted more than 30 years of her life to the women’s suffrage movement. She was a key player in getting the approval for women to vote, and to recognize her dedication to the movement. Her childhood home has been transformed into a museum.
Sue McDonnell, the president of the National 19th Amendment Society says she is always excited to share Carrie’s story, especially because of her ties to the area. McDonnell says that Carrie’s drive to make a change started from a conversation she had with her father about her mother not being allowed to vote.
“She asked why her mother wasn’t going [to vote] and was told that voting was too important to leave to women,” McDonnell explains, and says she spent most of her adult life working to change this double standard.
Women have come a long way since then, however State Rep. Sharon Steckman, (D) Mason City, says they still have a long way to go, especially in Iowa. The Hawkeye State is one of only two states in the U.S. that has not elected a female as governor or to any position in congress.
Since breaking through stereotypes and working toward holding positions of power is the newest push for women, Steckman says it’s important to keep the momentum going, and that women should be using every right that they can to do so. “I think it’s very important that we use that right to continue voting for people that will help us as women,” Steckman says, but she says that overall, she has been thrilled to see more women in the state House and Senate.