Posted March 2, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling
“The generations of women – who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment…I stand on their shoulders.” – Kamala Harris
As adults, we realize the importance of having the first woman, first African-American, and first Indian-American as our Vice President of the United States. However, do the younger generation understand how many hard-fought years it took to get to Kamala Harris?
In early-America, women were not given the right to vote and married women could not own property. Women began protesting, picketing, and making their voices heard throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s to gain their rights. Suffragists used tactics such as hunger strikes and silent vigils to get their message across. Only after President Woodrow Wilson changed his views to pro-women’s voting rights in 1918 did a political shift occur after decades of strict opposition. In 1920, the 19th amendment to the Constitution was passed allowing the right to vote to have no restrictions based on gender.
However, the 19th amendment in 1920 had limitations, which restricted American Indian, Asian American, Latinx and African American women from voting. They were not granted the legal right to vote until almost half a century later in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act.
Many women have paved the way for Vice President Kamala Harris to assume office; some notable names on both side of the aisle include Victoria Woodhull, Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, LaDonna Harris, Patsy Mink, Sandra Day O’Connor and many more! As you reflect on this moment in history with your students, here are a few educational websites that detail this journey – as well as how far we still have to go:
Blog Post Image Citation: Columbus Free Press, Publisher. International Women’s Day photograph. Picture. Columbus: March 8, 1973. Ohio History Connection: Columbus Free Press Collection Audiovisual Series, https://ohiomemory.org/digital/collection/p267401coll32/id/29029 (accessed February 25, 2021)