Voya Celebrates Women's History Month: Susan B. Anthony
The societal conditions for women in 1851, were less than desirable. The very invisibility of women and inferior treatment they received had them living as servants, slaves to men and faced a sort of double oppression. Ironically, Native American women, or ‘savages’ as they may have been called at the time, were actually more civil to tribal women. Tribal women were held in higher esteem as they were healers, herbalists and were wise women of counsel. They learned hunting and defense skills to protect themselves and children from attack. When they lost their male leaders, some women became ‘Chieftains.”¹
Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 and lived well into the next century.³ She lived during a time that was unkind to women. In 1851, Anthony was 31 years old and already fighting for human rights and the freedom of slaves as an abolitionist. It is also the time when she met and partnered with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They partnered for the same causes and Anthony managed the women’s rights movement as a business, while Stanton did most of the writing. Together, they edited and published the Revolution, a woman’s newspaper from 1868 to 1870. It was in 1869 they both chartered the National Woman Suffrage Association, travelling all around the country promoting women’s rights. ²
Anthony played a pivotal role in the start of what would later become the American women’s movement. Together with Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, they worked to transcribe history in the making with a six-volume account of the History of Woman Suffrage. She worked tirelessly on behalf of black slaves, equal voting rights and equal pay for women, and she was even arrested in New York for voting in her hometown elections. The trial was widely publicized and after refusing to pay a fine following her conviction, the authorities did nothing and backed down. She gave as many as 100 speeches per year and spread her passion internationally, creating the International Council of Women, still active today. ³
Over her lifetime, Anthony was scorned and accused of trying to destroy the sanctity of marriage. Over time, her public image changed and by her 80th birthday, she was celebrated at the White House and later became the first female citizen to have her image portrayed on a dollar coin in 1979.³ Above all, she paved the way for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which finally gave women the right to vote, it was ratified in 1920. ³ Although she didn’t live to see that day, her legacy and passion for equality clearly lives on.
Take a look at the timeline below to learn more about impactful Women in History.
- The condition of women in America, 1619-1851 - Howard Zinn, February 1, 2011, https://libcom.org/history/1619-1851-condition-women-america, last accessed February 18, 2021
- Americas Library, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/stanton/aa_stanton_friends_1_e.html, last accessed February 18, 2021
- Wikipedia, Susan B. Anthony, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony, last accessed February 18, 2021