This week marks the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York. While the 19th Amendment—which gave women the right to vote after 70 years of activism by revolutionaries like Sojourner Truth and Eleanor Roosevelt—was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified by the states in 1920, New York State gave women the right to vote an entire three years earlier in 1917.
To mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in The Empire State, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state will erect two statues honoring suffragists Rosalie Gardiner Jones and Sojourner Truth. Truth’s statue will be built on the Empire State Trail in Ulster County and Gardiner Jones’ statue will be built in Cold Spring Harbor State Park in Huntington, Suffolk County.
Cuomo and Hochul also released a proclamation declaring November as Women’s Suffrage Centennial Month in New York. The anniversary coincided this week with New York City’s mayoral elections which saw Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection.
Women’s suffrage was the first major victory for an American women’s movement that continues challenging the status quo and effecting change for women. In the U.S., women endure a 25 percent gender wage gap and a “pink” tax on women’s personal care products that the New York Department of Consumer Affairs reports costs women over $1,000 a year. Furthermore, women earn 57 percent of all undergraduate degrees but only 18 percent of all undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees and only 4 percent of leading U.S. companies have female CEOs.
As we recognize the groundbreaking women’s movement successes that have helped propel us to where we are today, we must acknowledged the gender imbalances that persist and the work that remains to be done. Here’s to women revolutionaries of the past, present and future!