At the end of the 2015 film Suffragette, before the credits roll, white text rolls across a black screen- names of countries and the year in which women were allowed to vote.
Saudi Arabia, 2011.
The United States, 1920.
1920? Has it really only been less than a century? There are women still alive today, like Donella Wilson and Jerry Emmett (who are both casting votes in this year’s election) who were born when women still didn’t have the right to vote. It’s important to remember that the rights to vote and hold elected office which are available to USA women are relatively new, and that we’re still fighting for equality in so many other areas.
We still have a voting system in place, in the year 2016, that was put in place to give a disproportionate amount of power to white male landowners- what the heck?
Sex trafficking still facilitates the buying and selling of women’s bodies, and many states have failed to place even the most basic legal protections in place for women affected by commercial sexual exploitation.
There is still a ridiculously large “gender gap” in the United States for an “advanced” country- specifically when it comes to wages and economic power.
This is why we have to vote, this is why we have to keep fighting. We understand that this isn’t everyone’s favorite election ever, but there are still so many important reasons to step into that polling booth tomorrow.
Vote because you’re pissed off that the hashtag #Repealthe19th (yes, as in repeal the amendment that gave women the right to vote) trended on twitter during this election cycle. Oh. Hell. No.
Vote because of the women who went before you to pave the way and who endured torture, harassment, beatings and imprisonment for their role in the suffrage movement.
Vote because women’s voices are still silenced all around the world- if yours isn’t, use it!
And vote because you care about social justice issues affecting women- like sex trafficking. Support national, state-level and local lawmakers who are fighting for better anti-trafficking measures in your city, state, and the country as a whole. Take the time to be educated on what your city or state is doing about trafficking. Know which lawmakers are endorsing and promoting legislature that has the best interest of exploited women and girls at heart, stay up to date on the progress of that legislation, and use your voice to support the bills and initiatives by calling your representatives and letting them know what’s important to you as a citizen.
Congressman Erik Paulsen and Senator Amy Klobuchar are among the Minnesota lawmakers who have supported and founded initiatives to fight human trafficking.
At a national level, learn about legislation to support through the Polaris Project.
And if you need last-minute information on how+where to vote in Minnesota, check out Go Vote MN.