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(c) by Mary Griggs

On August 26, 1920 women were granted full suffrage in the United States. This anniversary is important because I think the lessons of their fight have even greater resonance today.

One reason our feminist foremothers succeeded in getting the vote was because they worked locally. They started in the states and territories and continued to work there while lobbying on the national level. We need to continue to work locally (on school boards, local propositions, and city government) while we work on putting greater numbers of women into Congress and, hopefully, the White House.

Additionally, the suffragettes also persevered in their quest. Getting the vote for women took 70 years—that’s three generations of women (and enlightened men) working toward a goal that many wouldn’t see during their lifetimes. Now that is going the distance!

The pursuit of equality isn’t something that will ever come easy. As we look around the world, there are great areas where the rights of women do not equal those of men. There are many reasons given for this discrepancy. The culprit could by poverty or lack of education, or the lack could be because of religious dictates or traditional customs. Laying blame won’t change anything.

What will make change happen is if we work to ensure that our sisters are afforded similar opportunities as their brothers. Equality really does begin at home.

I think that Kahlil Gibran put it best in his book, The Prophet. In Chapter 12, he wrote, “And when one of you falls down she falls for those behind her, a caution against the stumbling stone. Aye, and she falls for those ahead of her, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”

Eighty-seven years ago, our foremothers’ accomplished great things. The work isn’t over yet.

Sisterhood is Powerful. Pass it on.

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