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Grijalva: 90 years of women voting hasn't led to equality

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Grijalva: 90 years of women voting hasn't led to equality

Thursday marks the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote

  • The 19th Amendment in the National Archive.
    quinnums/FlickrThe 19th Amendment in the National Archive.

Today is a day to reflect on America's continuing fight for a truly free and just society. Although we now take it for granted, women's suffrage was no less controversial in its time than the civil rights movement. American society spent decades coming to grips with the idea of allowing women to vote; once that step was taken, many women likely believed full equality would soon follow.

Unfortunately, it has not. We know that even today, female full-time, year-round workers earn only 78 percent of their male counterparts' salaries. Women remain strikingly underrepresented at the top levels of business and politics, and societal expectations continue to push many women into roles they may not prefer.

These statistics do not reflect women's lack of interest in making money, having careers or pursuing their own livelihoods. They reflect a nation that hasn't fully adjusted to an equal role for women in professional society. Just as the efforts of the women's suffrage movement met with resistance, today's women who seek a voice in business or politics are often surprised at the unreasonable difficulties in their path.

Today, let us consider the meaning not only of granting women (or any other group of people) the right to vote, but of including all groups in American society on an equal footing. We have always believed in results in this country as much as process, and today the results speak for themselves: women have less professional and personal control over their lives than men.

If a woman chooses to run for office, she is often suspected of being power-hungry and lacking interest in family life. If a woman applies for a high-level managerial position, she is often held to a different standard of performance than a male candidate. If a woman is nominated to the Supreme Court, many still wonder aloud whether three female Justices is too many – despite the fact that women outnumber men in the United States.

Today, let's consider our national values and our proud history of social advancement and start to change that.

U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional District.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

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