Today is Women's Equality Day, which marks the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in this country. When Hillary Clinton gives her prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight she will be visible proof of what that has meant for women and the country as a whole.
Eighty-eight years ago on Aug. 26, when enough states had ratified the 19th Amendment for it to become law, it was inconceivable to some that a woman might one day become president. Many of those who supported Sen. Clinton's impressive primary campaign were amazed and delighted that they had lived to see the possibility. The race for the nomination was a dramatic nail-biter. Barack Obama came out on top, but not by much.
Women have struggled mightily to reach this point. In 1848, when a group of women gathered in Seneca Falls, N.Y., to demand suffrage, they began a public campaign that brought them ridicule and harm. The first women's suffrage bill introduced in the N.C. legislature was referred to a committee on insane asylums.
But women persevered. By 1919, the 19th Amendment was submitted to the states for ratification. In August 1920, Tennessee was the 36th state, the last needed, to ratify the amendment. North Carolina didn't get around to ratifying it until 1971. Mississippi was the last state to ratify it in 1984.
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Not enough has changed. Women earn only about 77 cents for every dollar men earn. They represent less than 3 percent of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies. But Hillary Clinton's run for president shows how far women have come. Today, that's worth celebrating.
David's convention dispatch
Waxhaw's David McKee, 15, is among teens nationwide at the Democratic Convention in Denver as part of the Junior Statesmen of America. He'll be updating us daily on his experiences.
Day 1 started early for David – at 5 a.m.! Then he boarded a bus to a breakfast meeting of the N.C. delegation. David's impressions: “Speakers were rallying the delegates. Some are here for Hillary. Some for Obama… They're nothing like I thought they would be. You have people from every walk of life. Some are young. They're incredibly friendly and energetic.”
On David's agenda today is a dialogue with party activists. Read more from him on the editorial board's blog, Daily Views, at http://obsdailyviews.blogpost.com