Statement from IWPR President, C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D.

Today, we celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. It was a century’s long struggle led by courageous women of many different races and backgrounds who took to the streets and public square to fight for their rights, believing that voting and representation was critical to their full equality in the United States. For Black women, though, it would take another half century to realize their right to vote.

There’s still much work to be done. Currently, women comprise only a quarter of elected officials, and are absent from many high-level positions in businesses and corporations across America. Equal pay for equal work feels like a slogan rather than a reality for most working women.

Women will decide the upcoming election, as voters and mobilizers in their communities to get out the vote. They understand what’s at stake: it’s their ability to return to work, to get their children back to school and learning, to put food on their table and plan for their future.

The next hundred years will be great, but only if we make it so. When women hold and exercise their power—from Generation X to Millennials to Generation Z—good things happen. National and state level policies reflect the lived realities of families and communities and solutions are often grounded in the common good.

We can accelerate women’s power and influence in society by trusting women to lead in big and small ways, providing them the support and resources they need to reach their full potential—and by voting for them.

Watch Nicole discuss some of the women’s movement’s greatest accomplishments.