I’m always proud to be a Wisconsin woman. However, this month my heart swells even more as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin—movin’ people that we are— was the first state to take such action. We even beat the U.S. Congress, which didn’t ratify the amendment until the next year.
Certainly, a tip of the hat is due to those progressive thinkers of Wisconsin’s legislature. But the real heroes are the women who fought more than 70 years to bring the 19th amendment to fruition, women like these Wisconsin demigoddesses.
Women’s rights groups began forming in Wisconsin in the 1860s and they rallied for an array of social reforms such as anti-slavery, temperance, education, health, and married women’s property rights. The Wisconsin Women’s Suffrage Association (WWSA) was started in 1869. Besides campaigning for suffrage, these ladies fought to improve public schools. By 1869 they were running for school boards and by 1886 women could vote for issues “pertaining to school matters,” according to the Wisconsin Women Suffrage in School Matters Referendum.
Notice a whole lot of nurturing going on here?
“Bitches get stuff done.” — Tina Fey
When women rise up, they by nature don’t do so with self-serving ambitions. If we examine the motives behind what some label as “women being bitches,” we see they’re most often raising their voices for the welfare of others; family, children, the sick, the poor. Even 19th-century women’s quest for rights to their property was done with their children in mind; to prevent a drunken husband from taking a mother’s earnings or to will a woman’s inherited land to her own children rather than those of her husband’s second wife. Sometimes women being bitchy is the only way people listen.
Today I’m admiring…
These days inspiring Wisconsin women continue to stand up for the good of others. I’m thinking of several in my world alone, caring women who have dedicated time out of their busy lives to basically make things better in Wisconsin. Women like:
- My Soil Sister clients, cookie crusaders Lisa Kivirist, Dela Ends and Kriss Marion. They successfully sued the state of Wisconsin to lift the existing ban on the sale of home baked goods. This is huge for Wisconsinites wishing to supplement their income from within their home.
- The very same Kriss Marion, whose campaign for State Senate brought to light Wisconsin’s failing water quality. Thanks, Kriss! We now have 2019: The Year of Clean Drinking Water and a concentrated effort for better health.
- Laura Gallagher, a 30-year Madison business owner who recently was named one of SBA’s 2019 Women in Business Champion of the Year. Two years ago Laura facilitated WEDWisconsin, a now-annual conference that motivates and supports women entrepreneurs, myself included.
Be a Wisconsin Woman
Wisconsin women are gutsy go-getters. They get things done. But really, you don’t have to live in my beloved Badger state to be so emboldened. Just get up and go wherever you are.
And don’t forget to vote!