Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month--the annual celebration of women’s countless contributions to society and of those pioneering fighters who broke ground and glass ceilings to secure our equal rights.
Looking back, I’m proud of the Republican Party’s role in securing women’s right to vote, and I am inspired by the work of those strong-willed suffragettes who strengthened our party along the way.
When Susan B. Anthony dared to cast a ballot in 1872--an act for which she was arrested--she proudly voted for the Republican ticket. Then in 1878 she and her fellow suffragettes turned to her friend, Republican Senator A.A. Sargent to introduce the 19th Amendment. Decades passed before the amendment did, but when it finally won the needed votes in 1919, it was thanks to the newly-elected Republican Congress.
Republican women have always been trailblazers -- from Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to be elected to both the House and the Senate, to the nation’s first Latina governor, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and the country’s youngest sitting governor, Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
This Sunday, March 3 also marks the 100th anniversary of the National Woman Suffrage Parade in Washington, DC, when 5,000 women marched up Pennsylvania Avenue. The protest was critical to gaining national attention for the cause, but it was no walk in the park. They were met with jeers, resistance, and overt hostility.
Thanks to their unwavering determination, women not only earned the right to vote but have become entrepreneurs and CEOs, governors and secretaries of state, doctors and engineers. This month there is much to celebrate. But even though America has come a long way from Seneca Falls, there are still women around the world who suffer from oppression and inequity. For their sake, our nation must continue to be a beacon of equality, opportunity, liberty, and democracy. It’s up to women to ensure we do.
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