KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas City Kansas Community College is hosting Women’s Equality Day later this month.
The event is from noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 26 in Room 2325 on the Lower Level of the Jewell Center. It is free and open to the public.
Women’s Equality Day commemorates the granting of women to vote in the United States. First proposed in 1878, women known as suffragettes worked for more than 40 years to gain equal voting rights. Some would try to pass suffrage acts in individual states; others organized parades, vigils or even hunger strikes. New York was the first state to adopt women’s suffrage in 1917.
After that, President Woodrow Wilson changed his position and started supporting a woman’s right to vote. Other politicians soon followed his lead. On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law, and since 1972, every president has issued a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day.
“Many people don't know how much some women sacrificed to win the right to vote. Some were imprisoned, protested through hunger strikes and were force-fed. One woman sacrificed her life for the cause of women's suffrage,” said Jennifer Gieschen, coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center at KCKCC. “Many people don't know that women had been fighting to win the right to vote since the writing of the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.”
During KCKCC’s Women’s Equality Day event, attendees will have the chance to learn about the history about women’s right to vote as well as the most current legislation. Polly Hawk, assistant professor of English and Women’s Studies at KCKCC, will talk about the history of how women fought for the right to vote and Dr. Valdenia Winn, Professor of History at KCKCC and Kansas State Representative, will give updates on legislation that affect women, families and education. A light reception will follow.
“Women's Suffrage is a fascinating and often much forgotten part of our national history,” Gieschen said. “If people have learned about women's suffrage in the past, they have often forgotten it, or they never learned how difficult, long and passionate the fight for women's right to vote was. The right to vote affects all of us. Everyone is welcome to attend both women and men.”
KCKCC’s Women’s Equality Day event is co-hosted by the Women’s Resource Center of the Counseling & Advocacy Center, the American Association of University Women and the Intercultural Center.
For more information, call 913-288-7193.