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By: Emily Miller, a public relations associate for Complete PR and a soon-to-be Winthrop grad.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. We asked several Greenville female community and business leaders for their thoughts on what this means a century later.
Tammy Johnson, CEO of High Spirits Hospitality
The 19th Amendment was more than just the right to vote. This amendment laid the groundwork for women being considered equal in citizenship to men. In the next few years, women gained more representation in science, politics, and the workplace. These developments are especially important to me, as a woman business owner, because without the women of the past, I wouldn’t be where I am or have the same opportunities I have today. Although women were allowed to run businesses prior to the 19th amendment, they were not given business loans until the 1980s, and until the 1960s, employers were allowed to discriminate against women because of their gender. These fights for women’s equality are still going, and still important to the fabric of our nation.
Jennifer Osgood, Financial Advisor with Wagner Wealth Management
This amendment amplified women’s voices in all arenas, from the political sphere to the business world. Because of this amendment, women began gaining rights that put them on a similar playing field as men. They were allowed to file for credit under their own name without needing a man present, began to be compensated equally for hourly jobs, and were no longer allowed to be turned away by business loan companies or any other place of work or education because of their gender. The passing of the nineteenth amendment was an important benchmark in the advancement of women’s rights.
Anja Smith, Managing Partner with All Clear Plumbing
Admitting that the constitution – one of America’s most venerated documents – requires editing, takes a lot of consideration and political courage. One hundred years ago, it was made clear that the tide had turned and women would not accept a silent future. This landmark step began a shift that is still taking place today. Women, while able to own businesses, property, and work jobs, still make less than men. We still do not have control over our bodies. But we do have a voice, we have a vote, and we will use the power of that vote to fight for liberty.
Hillary Spencer, President and CEO of The Children’s Museum of the Upstate
As we approach election month, the significance of the 19th Amendment is more prevalent than ever — reminding us that, as women, our voice is a crucial part of this process. It is not only our right to vote, but it is our responsibility. As a female leader in the Greenville community, I recognize the ways in which the 19th Amendment advanced the lives of women, however, I also recognize the long way we have yet to go. At The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, I have committed myself to ensuring that our institution is a fulcrum for important conversations and engaging political discourse. We have hosted, and will continue to host, our Race & Families series — family forums that provide a safe space for families to talk about difficult topics such as race, sexuality, and what it means to be a female in our world today. And even though this work doesn’t stop at the polls, you can find me volunteering at poll sites during this year’s election — exercising and supporting the right so many women fought for hundreds of years ago.
Cindy Crick, owner Cindy Crick Law
One hundred years ago, women gained the right to vote. While this amendment was already a monumental moment in American history, the impact it had on the women’s rights movement as a whole is equally important. Before the 19th Amendment was ratified, women still did not have all the rights citizenship should guarantee, including the ability to exist independently from one’s family or partner. This vote paved the way for those rules to be slowly undone, including finally allowing women to take out business loans in the 1980s. As a female business owner, these historical decisions are incredibly important to me, and I am excited to celebrate that transformational moment in time.