MJ: This November it will be 100 years, the centennial celebration of women's right to vote in the United States. It was a long time coming. The Suffragette movement in the US started in July, 1848 with 240 women in Seneca Falls, New York. Included in the group were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.
Katherine: It's a super example of the power of everyday women's unity, and courage. Many suffered terribly and were jailed in tragic conditions, some gave their lives. They were kept away from their families, their children. In our Purse Museum of Women's History, and in our mystery novel Kat Out of the Bag, we highlight amazing times of women's history, like this. The incredible courage of everyday women.
MJ: Women's fight for the vote has happened worldwide at different times in history. The most recent where women have won the right to vote is Saudi Arabia, in 2015. Now is a great time to talk about this meaningful victory in the US that all began more than a century ago in another July. The actions of the original 240 women were delayed by the sorrows of the Civil War and Reconstruction. But, in 1869 the National Woman Suffrage Association led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton was established and then there was no looking back. Their efforts were also joined by men who agreed with their cause.
Katherine: It's so important to vote. Not only as a citizen's responsibility, but also because so many gave so much before us, so we can vote.
MJ: In 1890 Wyoming became the first state where women gained the right to vote.
In 1919, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution - "the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment took effect.
Katherine: Aileen Ribeiro. Cally writes about the British Suffragettes and says "Fashion, feminism and politics has always been heated territory, and the suffragettes knew this. Instead of deploying a strategy of resistance by refusal, they chose resistance through reversal. They sought to effect change not by challenging contemporary fashion and ideals of femininity, but by conforming to them. Haunted by the stereotypical image of the “strong-minded woman” in masculine clothes, pebble-thick glasses and galoshes created by cartoonists, they chose instead to present a fashionable, feminine image."
MJ: In England The suffragettes’ came up with a color scheme, a sort of code through fashion branding. Suffragettes wore purple for loyalty and dignity, white for purity, and green for hope. Members were encouraged to wear the colors including tricolor-striped ribbon for hats, belts, rosettes and badges, as well as colored garments, shoes, and yes handbags.
Katherine: Handbags, of course!