In America, it is not uncommon to hear sentiments that begin or end with “when women got the right to vote.” In fact, women didn’t get the right to vote in 1920, they fought for it.
Women, for centuries and throughout the world, have fought tirelessly to be treated equally under the laws. In many states, women were not acknowledged as citizens in their own right until well into the 20th century. State laws governed whether women held equal status to men or were merely recognized as property owned by a husband or father.
In fact, until the 1980 Supreme Court decision in Kirchberg v Feenstra, 450 U.S. 455 (1981), it was not unconstitutional for states to forbid married women from being sole owners of real property like a house or vacant land. Notwithstanding, 60 years before Kirchberg (1981), the Nineteenth Amendment was passed guaranteeing American women the right to vote. The text of this Amendment states,
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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment on June 4, 1919, and it was ratified by the states on August 18, 1920.
Perhaps the most prominent women who fought for voting rights for women were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together, these two women founded The National Women’s Suffrage Association – a stalwart organization that stood firm in the fight for women to have the right to vote in America.