2017-10-25 / Editorials

Celebrating 100th Anniversary Of Women’s Suffrage in New York

BY ARAVELLA SIMOTAS, NYS ASSEMBLYWOMAN

The right to vote is a shining example to the world of democracy. Voting is one of the strongest, most direct ways we can effect change and hold our leaders accountable. I urge everyone who is registered to go to the polls on November 7. While there are many ways that New York’s voting laws can be improved to increase voter turnout, let’s vote now to encourage improvement in those laws. Even if the candidate of your choice does not win, they may gain influence and the capacity to effect change through the number of votes they receive.

Election Day is an important time to remember that this year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in New York state – three years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted women’s suffrage nationally.

New York has long been a national leader in the advancement of women’s equality. The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 – the nation’s first gathering to address women’s rights – took place in New York and set in motion a decades-long push toward women’s suffrage. On November 6, 1917, New York state legalized women’s suffrage.

It wasn’t an easy journey. Women were considered far from equal, with many anti-suffrage arguments focused on a woman’s supposed inability to think rationally, and some even declared that women didn’t have time to vote or think about politics, because they were too busy taking care of the home.

A century after women’s right to vote was achieved in New York, our state remains a leader on women’s issues and equality, recognizing that every person deserves to be treated with respect and fairness, no matter their race, sex, creed, nationality or sexual orientation. For the trailblazers that came before us, the community activists and advocates that stand among us and the visionaries yet to come, may this anniversary serve as a spark for great strides forward in the march toward full women’s equality.

The New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission, which was created to honor the fight for women’s rights and pay tribute to pioneering suffragists, has more information on ways to celebrate this 100-year anniversary: www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-womens-suffrage-commission.

Please feel free to contact me at 718- 545-3889, via email at: simotasa@nyassembly.gov or through my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SimotasNY.

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