Illinois celebrates 100 years of women voting

by Katie Bandish

 
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — The 19th Amendment, which guarantees all American women the right to vote, was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920.

“You have seen a slow and steady increase of participation of women in elections and increase in the amount of elected officials,” Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Springfield said.

Currently, 127 women serve in the United States Congress out of 535 members and a quarter of women serve both in the Senate and the House.

“In absolute numbers, there have been more women voting in national elections than men since the early sixties,” Redfield said.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, in 2018, 81.3 million women were registered voters, outstripping men who had 71.7 million registered.

“Having a more diverse Illinois General Assembly and a more diverse U.S. Congress means you've got a broader agenda,” Redfield said. “Illinois has moved quite a distance from the state that existed in the late 1970s.”

In Illinois, the state has now passed the Reproductive Health Act and a sexual harassment workplace law.

Marilyn Artus is working with other female artists across the country to make a flag that symbolizes the ratification process of the 19th Amendment. Each state that ratified the amendment will add a stripe to the flag.

“I really want to raise awareness about women's history because when we open up a history book a 5th grader has you see very few women,” Artus said. “Why can't this gal from Oklahoma City create a project that goes across the country and really celebrate women's history and this big anniversary?”

Just last year, Illinois became the 37th out of 38 states needed to ratify the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment Act, which would guarantee equal rights for both sexes.

 
IllinoisTodd Clark