This year will mark the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the constitutional right to vote.
To commemorate this occasion and to further celebrate International Women’s Day, AU will be presenting a free event in York Performance Hall on March 9, which will have a guest speaker and a dessert reception afterwards.
The event, which will begin at 7 p.m., was planned and organized by a committee consisting of Dr. Janet Brewer, Dean MaryAnn Hawkins, Stephanie Moran and Dr. Jaye Lee Rogers.
Brewer, who is Robert A. Nicholson Library director, spoke on how the event began to be planned.
“Every March is International Women’s Day, on March 8 specifically,” said Brewer. “In connection with that, this is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. And the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Speakers Bureau put out a grant-call for speakers.”
Rogers, who currently serves as the chair of the Department of History and Political Science and is a professor of history, submitted a grant application to the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Speakers Bureau. After the application was accepted, the committee was awarded with an Indiana Humanities grant, which allowed the committee to cover the costs of a guest speaker who specializes in women’s history and women’s social issues.
“The last two years, we hosted a dinner and guest speaker,” explained Rogers. “This year we decided not to have the dinner, which required an RSVP and a small cost for those attending the meal. Because we were awarded an Indiana Humanities grant, which covers the speaker’s fees, we chose to make this cost-free for any wishing to attend.”
Janine Giordano Drake, a historian and an assistant professor of history at Indiana University, is the guest speaker selected to speak at the event.
According to Rogers, Drake will “present her research on the many ways Indiana suffragists worked to improve conditions for those who had been marginalized in our state.”
Rogers went on to explain the significance and importance of holding an event to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage.
“Speaking only for myself as a historian, this year represents a tremendous milestone for women,” Rogers explained. “The 19th Amendment, granting women in America the right to vote, was ratified in August 1920. It is too easy to dismiss the importance of the elective franchise, especially 100 years after the fact. But we need to realize that it took 144 years after the Declaration of Independence, which declared that ‘all men are created equal’, for women to also be recognized as citizens of this country with certain ‘unalienable rights.’ When you cannot vote, you have no voice. So what I hope students and others who attend this event get from it is that women were and are active participants in national and global affairs—and that quite often we have good answers for the many problems that plague our world.”
With the event being free for everyone on campus and the surrounding area, Brewer hopes that people will enjoy the anniversary by attending the event.
“I really hope people come out and experience the event and help us celebrate,” Brewer said. “It was a very big thing when women got the vote, and it is still a very big thing.”