How the 19th Amendment shaped women's rights

Aug. 18th marks 100 years since women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Today, female voters hold a crucial role in American elections.

Video Transcript


- In 2020, women are a powerful voting force. 63% of women turned out to vote in the last presidential election, and more women than men have voted in every presidential election since 1964.

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- But it took a while to make their voices heard. In 1920, suffragists took to the streets demanding voting rights, and it paid off. After over 70 years of fighting, the 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago, giving women the right to vote. Great, right?

Not so fast. Not everyone would immediately benefit. With barriers like Jim Crow laws, African American women wouldn't have their voting rights fully protected for another four decades with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Today, Black women are a crucial voting demographic in the 2020 election, and both candidates are vying for the support of all women nationwide, but women as a whole have tended to vote liberal. A Quinnipiac poll in July found that 59% of women planned to vote for Joe Biden and 31% planned to vote for Donald Trump.

For women in 1920, it was the first presidential election where they could cast votes nationwide. Choosing between Republican Warren Harding and Democrat James Cox, the Republican would ultimately come out on top. Yet suffragists who had fought for the right to vote in that election were often vilified, with some even calling the suffrage movement a failure. But those challenges didn't stop women from marching to the polls.

And today, women voters are just as resilient. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, voting in 2020 looks a lot different than it did in 1920, with masks required in many polling stations and mail-in voting becoming a new normal.

But that's not slowing down women voters. A majority of women who said they're facing major challenges during COVID-19 said that still won't stop them from voting, proving that 100 years after women gained the right to vote, their voices are still sounding strong at the ballot box in the new roaring '20s.