The 19th Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing American women the right to vote was ratified on August 18 1920. This day in 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the date that American women achieved voting equality with American men.
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) in the United States is not only the largest affiliate organisation within ICJW, but it was also one of three Jewish women’s organisations credited with the founding of International Council of Jewish Women.
In the last years of the nineteenth century, along with inspirational leaders from the German Jewish Women’s Association in Germany (JFB) and the British Union of Jewish Women of England, the National Council of Jewish Women of America formed an international alliance which was formalised in 1912, becoming the International Council of Jewish Women.
Within the dozens of countries represented in ICJW, the introduction of voting rights for women has been widely disparate, stretching over many decades. The women of New Zealand were the earliest to obtain the vote in 1893, followed by Australia in 1902, Finland in 1906, Britain in 1918, Sweden in1919 and USA in 1920. Limited suffrage began to appear in many countries; more recently countries such as Mexico in 1953, Ecuador in 1967, Switzerland in 1971 and South Africa in 1983 have brought their women’s voting rights to match those of their male populations.
It may have taken many decades for women globally to achieve the vote, but we ICJW women all over the world continue to progress the status of women in our countries and our communities.
Robyn Lenn OAM
ICJW Chair, Status of Women
Image from the official centennial celebration website www.womensvote100.org