N.Y. Suffragettes Took the 14th to Polling Booths

Yes We Did!

Left, right, or independent – yesterday’s election was a paradigm shift of tectonic proportion. Millions of women joined together, gave time, talent and treasure and changed the out come of thousands of local, state and national elections.

Suffragette Arrested

The millions of women who cast their votes yesterday did so under the hard-won “Grace” of great grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers who fought, were ridiculed, arrested imprisoned, intimidated with physical and emotional violence and still did not quit.

Generations of Inconvenient Women won our “Right” to vote.

It was not “given” to us.

Inconvenient Women do not accept imposed limitations or demeaning treatment!

We take action! Deal with the consequences, and continue to take action until our issues are recognized, and condition improved.

Over the past several years, I have spoken to and corresponded with women who feel that we don’t have the power to mitigate the influence of the Medical / Pharmaceutical industrial complex.  Some feel that we will NEVER be able to reform the FDA, and get fair access to holistic health care that recognizes that women are not just small men.  Some women have told us that we can’t change a system that is ‘medicalizing’ every aspect of a women’s natural cycle.

Yes We Can!

For over thirty years my writing partner, Leslie Carol Botha, has worked tirelessly to give women access to menstrual health education. She has fought for a woman’s right to know and understand the perfection of her reproductive cycle. She struggled to bring this information to girls and women, through her writing, her classes, her Internet radio program and her website, http://www.holyhormones.com.

Is change coming fast enough? No!
Is change coming? Yes!

To paraphrase Napoleon Hill, “What ever the mind of women can perceive, she can achieve!”

If you have any doubts, read the Women’s eNew historical perspective piece included in this Blog.

Yes We Have!

By Louise Bernikow

WeNews historian
Nov. 7, 1871: New York women, determined to vote, confront election officials.

(WOMENSENEWS) Victoria Woodhull and her sister, Tennie Clafin, truly maverick spiritualists, stockbrokers, publishers and political activists, always commanded public attention. When they called the press to their apartment on Election Day, 1871, reporters responded and listened as the sisters and 10 other women announced that they were about to become the first women to vote in the city of New York.

“Unterrified, indomitable,” one reporter wrote, “each determined female unsheathed her parasol and swore to vote.”

At the crowded polling place, the inspectors refused the women’s ballots. Woodhull demanded to know if it was “a crime to be a woman” and began reading aloud from the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, to no avail. The group left to begin work on a lawsuit that they hoped would become a test case against the government for preventing legitimate citizens from casting ballots.

The action was neither spontaneous, nor unique to the flamboyant Woodhull. Confronting election officials was part of a new national strategy. Since the first convention for women’s rights in 1848, an organized and growing movement had tried petitions and speeches, legal arguments, lobbying and withholding tax revenues, without success.

Now they leaped on the language of the post-Civil War constitutional amendments, particularly these words from the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside.” The new tactic was to announce that women were citizens and already entitled to the vote.

In April 1871, women in Washington, D.C., including Belva Lockwood; the first female attorney to argue before the Supreme Court and, in 1884, a candidate for the presidency herself, had attempted to register and tried to cast ballots. After being barred, they filed cases at the District of Columbia Supreme Court against the Board of Registration and the election judges. While Woodhull was marching to the New York City polls, Matilda Joslyn Gage was confronting local registrars in upstate New York.

And in Rochester, N.Y., Susan B. Anthony was organizing for another assault, which would take place a year later. In 1872, while Victoria Woodhull was audaciously campaigning for the office of president, Anthony also read out the words of the 14th Amendment at her local polling place. She and 14 other women were rejected, but Anthony would stand trial for trying to vote. Hers would become, while not exactly the test case the women with Woodhull and Lockwood hoped for, a media and legal spectacle that brought women’s citizenship claims even more intensely to the nation’s attention.

Louise Bernikow is the author of seven books and numerous magazine articles.
She travels to campuses and community groups with a lecture and slide show about activism called:

The Shoulders We Stand On: Women as Agents of Change.”

She can be reached at louise@womensenews.org.

Reprinted with the kind permission of Women’s eNews.

Women”s eNewswelcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.


Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.