News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
14th September 2010


posted in State Concerns, Women's issues |

I just got back from voting for Eileen Donoghue and heard that turnout is pretty low today. Then I received a timely email reminding me that the right to vote for women was once a hotly-contested issue. This was one of those forwarded emails that I typically don’t bother to open, but it was very well done with photos of suffragettes and a description of how hard they had to fight and the abuse they put up with – being beaten, jailed, vilified and threatened with institutionalization for insanity! The email reminds us that it was only 90 years ago that women finally prevailed and were allowed to vote; it also describes the “night of terror,” November 15, 1917, when 33 women were jailed for picketing Woodrow Wilson’s White House. The warden gave his men permission to teach the women a lesson, resulting in horrendous abuse. The friend who wrote this email mentions a movie starring Hilary Swank, Iron Jawed Angels, which she says is a must-see to give us all some “shock therapy” and a needed reminder of the importance of voting. She adds:

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.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because – why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

So, let’s all vote for ourselves, for our daughters and for those women who fought so hard and were so brave. A doctor who was asked to declare one of the leaders insane countered that she wasn’t crazy, but brave, adding, “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

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