A century ago, on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
Two years ago, I visited Seneca Falls for a Women’s Equality Conference. The trip made me think about our state’s rich history as the epicenter for the women’s rights movement. It also reminded me that many of our rights can easily be taken for granted. It is so important that we pay homage to those brave, bold women who paved the way for us and for the next generation of girls.
Suffragettes gathered in Seneca Falls in 1848. There, they wrote a Declaration of Sentiments that laid out the inequities in the law that seem so outrageous by today’s standards, such as not allowing women to vote, earn money, own property and achieve a college education. I encourage everyone to read it. [See bit.ly/declaration-of-sentiments.] It was an inspiration for the suffrage movement that lasted into the late 1910s, when women mobilized to convince male members of Congress to pass the 19th Amendment.
Most of us are aware of the inequities that still persist for women and that our work is far from over. However, it is also important to remember how far we have come. We must all exercise our right to vote this November, and in every election, to say thank you to all those women before us who made voting possible. Remember the history: It took more than 70 years to get the right to vote for women.
Sandy Galef, Albany
Galef’s district in the state Assembly includes Philipstown.