Delta College celebrates 100 years of women voting

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March 3, 2020 marked 100 years of women’s right to vote. 

In celebration, Delta College held a panel discussion organized by Lynn Hawley, professor of Women’s History with two guest speakers: Cirian Villavicencio, professor of Political Science and Department Chair and Doctor Joel Blank, professor of Political Science.

The panel focused on all the important marks that led to women’s voting rights. 

Hawley started the discussion with the first half of the 100 years. She focused on all the important matches, protests and all the incredible women who fought for their voting right. Villavicencio and Blank focused on women’s voting today. The two also talked about the big gap between women and men in the office today.

“This is Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony, who for fifty years- most of their adult life worked on getting women the right to vote. They both died before that happened…. And this is Sojourner Truth, who made it very clear in her women’s right speeches that when we talk about women getting the right to vote, they want to include all women, not just white educated women,” said Hawley.

She also discussed how women after Stanton, Anthony, and Truth used matches as a tactic to fight for their rights to vote. 

In 1910, in Stockton, there was also a huge women suffrage match march? from El Dorado to Stockton City Hall because that was where the State Republicans held their meeting. 

Matches were happening all around the country. Women were arrested, hundreds of them went on hunger strikes.

“Many of these women who were arrested were arrested multiple times and every case, the charge was obstructing traffic. They were treated horribly in prison, with brutal conditions!” said Hawley.

After all the struggle that women went through, in 1920, they finally got the 36 states needed for congress to finally ratify the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote and prohibited any U.S. citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. 

However, even when granted the right to vote, not a lot of women practiced their right, only about a third of eligible women voted. 

Hawley said this was because there were women who did not want the right to vote because they were brainwashed and told not to vote, some did not know how. It wasn’t until 1960 the voting gap between men voting and women voting closed.

There was not only an existing gap between men and women voting, but there was a gap between men and women in office. That gap still exists today.

Villavicencio and Blank gave Delta students information about contemporary politics and women’s role in Congress on a national level.

“If you look at the statistics, there are 116 women who are serving in Congress out of 535 members in total. 105 Democrats and 21 Republicans,” said Villavicencio.

“And this is currently the highest number of women in Congress in the history of the US. Congress,” said Blank.

This means that only 23.6 percent  of the US Congress are women. Women are underrepresented even when they take up more than half of the population.

“Preparing for this presentation, we discovered a lot of studies that showed women are more persuasive, women are better at creating a safe and respectful workplace, they are more passionate and empathetic, more honest and ethical and more willing to take risks,” said Villavicencio.

“However, there are still a lot less women in the office. Women have it harder than men. Men have a higher expectation for women and even women have a higher expectation for themselves,” said Blank.