Quick hit: A woman born without the right to vote on why you should exercise yours

I’ve written before about how much I admire and love my amazing grandmother Belle. She’s 98, and she’s been an inspiration to me for many years. Which is why I was so proud to co-author an op-ed with her, about why it’s never been more important for American women to exercise their right to vote.

When Belle Littenberg was born, American women did not have the right to vote. It was 1914, and women wouldn’t be granted suffrage for another six years. Seventy-three years later, when her granddaughter Chloe was born, it was into a completely different world. The right to vote had been a given for two generations of women now, as had been a list of rights that were lofty dreams when Belle was born.

Now, women applied for their own credit cards, went to graduate school en masse, took birth control and had legal abortions. The first year that Chloe was eligible to vote in a presidential primary, she could vote for a woman who had a real chance of becoming the nominee.

Thanks in large part to the work of the intervening generation – of women like Belle’s daughters – the political and cultural lives of women had changed, in some ways, beyond recognition. In this presidential election year, two of those crucial advances – access to birth control and abortion – are under threat.

You can read the whole thing here. And then, if you’re eligible, you should make sure that you’re registered to vote on November 6. If you’re not eligible, send a reminder email to your friends and family who are.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/lilysavage/ Lily Savage

    I think your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. All women eligible so exercise her right to vote. I think sometimes we take voting for granted in America and forget the hardships both women and men fought to attain the right to vote and that many other countries yearn for the basic freedom that we possess. Stories like that of your grandmother are not only inspirational, but they help present voters remember why voting is so crucial.

  • http://feministing.com/members/fltc/ F.Toth

    Please.

    PLEASE.

    This is a FEMINIST website. Please stop repeating the nonsense about women “without the right to vote. She was born without her right to vote being “recognized” or “guaranteed by the Constitution.”

    Men did not” give” us the right to vote, although they’d like to think so.

    This bad turn of phrase is particularly irksome because of the difference in view between African American voting rights and those of women. The 14th Amendment says that the “right to vote shall not be denied” (referring to African Americans). If you Google 14th Amendment and voting, what usually comes up is that it GUARANTEES the right to vote. If you do the same with the 19th Amendment, what usually appears is that it GAVE women the right to vote. THIS IS NOT OK.

    Women have always HAD the same rights as men. We have had to work hard to get them recognized, and are still doing so. Please stop slowing us down by pretending rights are “given” or that we ever didn’t have the right to vote. It may have been denied, but that does nto mean we didn’t have that right.