Because I use this blog for business, I seldom add anything political or too controversial. But every now and then, something is presented that I feel cannot be ignored. So… this piece is not about the internet or software or anything related to computers. But…. if one is in the workplace today, a little history can be a good thing….
First – I had no idea!! How come this is not taught in school?? Why is that??…. You might want to tell your daughters/grand daughters – It wasn’t that long ago… it was less than 100 years. In fact, there are many females living today in Canada who were born but not considered a ‘person’ under law, but as chattel …… interesting … and sad…. even in the 50/60′s when women wanted equal pay for equal work, they were ridiculed, etc……. not that long ago …. And in 1978 I mentioned something about a raise in pay to my boss, and his reply was (and I kid you not) – “What do you need money for?” I couldn’t make that up if I tried….
So here is the history lesson – without the horrific photos that were originally received – I think the truth is strong enough and all we need. Because this is about women in the U.S., please don’t point fingers – remember that this story was never told to me in school and I wonder about the Canadian women and what happened to them and what was not put in our history books. Canada passed the bill to allow women to vote in 1918 (sooner than the U.S.,) but only Federally and in some provinces, a woman could vote only if she owned land – full rights came a few years later … yup – all kinds of things left out of my school history book…
This is the story of women who were ground-breakers. These brave women from the early 1900′s made all the difference in the lives women live today. And one just needs to look at different countries in the world today to see how fragile our rights are and how fast they can disappear – for both men and women.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women in those days, were quite innocent and mostly defenseless, but when, in North America, women picketed in front of the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote, they were jailed.
And by the end of the first night in jail, those women were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk traffic.’
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate,
Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
All women who have every voted, have ever owned property, have ever enjoyed equal rights need to remember that women’s rights had to be fought for in Canada as well. Do our daughters and our sisters know the price that was paid to earn rights for women here, in North America?
2009 was the 80th Anniversary of the Persons Case in Canada, which finally declared women in Canada to be Persons!
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this information on to all the women you know, so that we remember to celebrate the rights we enjoy.
“Knowledge is Freedom: hide it, and it withers; share it, and it blooms” (P. Hill)