An Appraisal of Women's Political Activism
The year 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment giving many women in the United States the right to vote. The struggle for suffrage lasted over six decades and involved more than a million women; yet, even at the moment of the amendment's enactment, women's activists disagreed heartily over how much had been achieved, whether it was necessary for women to continue organizing for political rights, and what those political rights would
bring. Looking forward to the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, this collection of original essays takes a long view of the past century of women's
political engagement to gauge how much women have achieved in the political arena. The volume looks back at the decades since women won the right to vote to analyze the changes, developments, and even continuities in women's roles in the broad political sphere. Ultimately, the book asks two important questions about the last 100 years of women's suffrage: 1) How did the Nineteenth Amendment alter the American political system? and 2) How has women's engagement in politics changed over the
last 100 years? As the chapters reveal, while women have made substantial strides in the political realm--voting at higher rates than men and gaining prominent leadership
roles--barriers to gender equality remain. Women continue to be underrepresented in political office and to confront gender bias in a myriad of political settings. The contributors also remind us of the important understanding to be gained from an intersectional perspective to women's political engagement. In particular, several chapters discuss the failure of the Nineteenth Amendment to provide full political rights and representation to African American, Latina, and poorer women. The work
also considers women's extra-institutional activism in a wide variety of settings, including in the feminist, civil rights, environmental, and far-right movements. As the volume traces women's forceful
presence and limitations in politics over the past century, it also helps us look forward to consider the next 100 years: what additional victories might be won and what new defeats will need women's response?