Most of us are probably not old enough to remember all the way back to August 18th 1920. If you are old enough to remember that far back then I would love to pick your brain about what you have seen over the past 100 years, maybe you can pass along some of your secrets to successful canning and food preservation. So for the rest of us August 18th 1920 was the day the 19th amendment was ratified, and if you are anything like me and didn’t pay much attention in high school the 19th amendment gave all American women the right to vote.
I took some time to research how women have progressed from not having the right to vote to women entering the workforce and increasingly becoming leaders in the agriculture industry. Along the way women have had to endure many struggles to get to where they are today. Women are often not treated the same as their male counterparts, however as women continue to fight their way to equality we continue to see more and more fruits of their labor while also paving a path for their daughters to hopefully not have to face the same struggles as the women before them did.
- In 2017 nine percent of farms in the United States are run entirely by women.
- In 2017 the United States had 1.2 million female producers, which accounts for 36 percent of the country’s 3.4 million producers.
- In 2017 female operated farms accounted for 38 percent of U.S. agriculture sales and 43 percent of U.S. farmland.
- From 2012 to 2017 there was a 27 percent increase of female producers in the U.S. Also in that same time frame there was a 23 percent increase if female operated farms.
- In Canada by 2016, 77,830 females accounted for 28.7% of the countries farm operators.
While the proportion of women to men in agriculture continues to rise in Canada and the U.S. many women are considered new to their role in politics as well as farming. I would take to turn the typewriter over to my good friend, Bridgette Readel to hear her thoughts about women’s rights and women’s roles over the past 100 years.
My great-great grandmothers immigrated to the USA between 1883-1885. They had no idea that women would ever have the right to vote or be would be involved in politics in this country; It was never on their radar! My grandmother was born in 1919 not knowing that she would ever have the right to vote. But by 1920, these women did and I’ll be damned if I let them down but not participating and giving my voice to decisions.
The great & great-great grandmothers of that era hosted coffee meetings, wrote letters, walked in parades and did their best to convince their husbands, sons and brothers that they were ready, willing and able to soundly participate in the American political process. The last necessary state to ratify the 19th amendment was Tennessee. The last deciding vote was made because that legislators mother wrote him a letter suggesting he vote on behalf of the ladies……and her!
What did their work do for me? I vote. Every election. Every year.
In my agricultural work life, being a woman with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else, I have found a few advantages:
-Being able to deliver less than ideal news to a customer in a manner that’s like hearing it from a professional mother type.
-Being seen as a coach and teacher in situations that could have been confrontational.
-Being able to hold my ground and be a role model for other women to be professionals. Similar to what the suffragists did when campaigning for the right to vote; many strove to be seen as professional and respectable. Aren’t those attributes we should all strive to emulate?
-Is every day easy at work? No, and it’s not easy regardless of your gender or the industry in which you work.
-We vote. Everyone of us. Are you exercising your right? Think of all the little battles your grandmothers and great grandmothers had to fight for that to happen? Don’t let them down.