Today we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that, with 2 short sentences, removed the voting barriers based on sex. It took 72 years from the 1848 first Women’s Rights Convention to see their efforts finally become a reality, although it did not fully guarantee the ability to vote. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and underhanded rules still had to be navigated and challenged, particularly by black women.
Pennsylvania was the 7th state to ratify the amendment.
How far have we come since then? In spite of the fact that a greater percentage of women across all age groups vote, our representation in federal and state governments and businesses does not reflect this improvement.
The United States has yet to have a woman in the Executive Suite, and Pennsylvania has yet to have a woman governor. In the private sector, only 13 of the Fortune 500 large companies are headed by women, and there continues to be a pay gap of approximately 20% between the salaries of men and women who do the same work.
When it comes to representation at the federal level, only a quarter of the nation’s Senators are women and just under a quarter of the Representatives. In Pennsylvania, women comprise roughly a fifteenth of the Senate, and less than a quarter in the House. Only a third of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices are women, and in Pennsylvania that number is three out of seven.
This does not reflect the demographics of our nation in which women make up over half, and clearly points out how far we still have to go to have their voices heard and accurately represented.
This year I hope that with your help and support I can add at least one more representative to the Pennsylvania State House to help correct the gap in electing women to positions in our governing bodies.