The Women’s Vote Still Matters 101 Years Later 

For the past 101 years, women have been voting and making their rightful opinion be known when they cast their vote in the ballot box. 

Black women, in particular, had to continue the fight for the right to vote, which happened 45 years later during the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Fifty-five years later, the first Black woman was elected as vice president – when Black women backed Kamala Harris by the tens of thousands, and it showed.  

At Robert C. Valade Park (the newest park to open along the East Riverfront), the American Association of University Women Grosse Pointe (AAUW GP) organization joined forces and celebrated the 101st anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment with a walk along the Riverwalk. 

The walk also recognized the one-year anniversary of the 2020 ERA Parade that celebrated the centennial of the 19th Amendment. 

The handful of diverse women walked while learning of the historical overview of the riverfront area; how it transformed from an industrial area into its present-day park and future plans for even further redevelopment. 

Many women in attendance wore white, gold and purple sashes in honor of voting rights. 

The group, which strives in “lifting women up as they climb high with empowerment, dignity and respect” shared with the Michigan Chronicle about how, and why, they continue to fight for voter’s rights, especially women’s rights. 

Sandra Stanley, vice president of programs, said just before the event that the 19th Amendment is a vital part of the Constitution that, even to today, allows women to voice their opinions that make changes for the greater society. 

“It is important to keep [this] fresh in our minds,” she said wearing a sash, adding that the sashes represent the suffrage movement. 

According to https://www.voanews.com/, women outvote men five to one. 

“There’s no singular sort of women’s vote in the American electorate,” Claire Gothreau, a research associate at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers, was quoted as saying in a VOA News article. “Yes, women are more likely to vote Democratic than men. But once you look at gender data disaggregated by race, by age group, education, religiosity, there are these really big differences. For example, white women have pretty consistently voted Republican in presidential elections.” 

“They’ve registered and voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980,” Gothreau added in the article. “They outnumber men, at least in the past couple of elections, by about 10 million. So, even though men outpaced women in terms of some other forms of political engagement like donating and running for office, the fact that women outvote men is meaningful.” 

Women of color are also rising in the ranks with their growing power in the U.S. electorate, Gothreau said, adding that nonwhite people accounted for about one-third of the electorate in 2020 — the largest portion ever. 

Joanne Johnson, AAUW member, said that while progress is being made — and is quite a far cry from the start of when women began voting – there is still “a long way to go.” 

“If you follow the news, [people are] trying to make it more difficult for people to vote. It is important to vote in the local election and national elections.” 

AAUW President Mary Ellen Burke told the Michigan Chronicle that the group’s purpose is for greater equity and equal treatment of women. She echoed Johnson’s thoughts when saying that even more still needs to be done to enable women to have equal pay to men and more. 

“Our organization believes in gender equity and fairness for women to get equal pay now.” 

Harper Woods Mayor Valerie Kindle told the Michigan Chronicle that the votes matter, the Black votes matter, and starting local is vital in voting and staying involved. 

“Be a part of your community; always be a part of your community,” she said of voting and volunteering to help make change. 

Historically, women like Fannie Lou Hamer helped to shape politics for Black women. A voting and women’s rights advocate, Hamer was also extremely active in the Civil Rights movement and went on to help co-found and serve as vice chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, and in 1964 represented the organization at the Democratic National Convention. Further, extending her hand to all women, not just African Americans, Hamer went on to co-found the National Women’s Political Caucus, which was established to help all women get elected to public office. 

“And you can always hear this long sob story: ‘You know it takes time.’ For three hundred years, we’ve given them time. And I’ve been tired so long, now I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we want a change.” 

“We always knew we had a story to tell. We always knew that we belonged. We know that we have a position, and we have a right to be here, and we can contribute greatly to policy,” says Alisha Bell, chair for the Wayne County Commission. “We are the grassroots. We have a story that is unique, and we know we have something to give back to society and thank God we aren’t afraid to do that.” 

Staff Writer Megan Kirk contributed to this report. 

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