In 1971, a bill was brought before Congress to designate August 26 as ‘Women’s Equality Day.’ This would commemorate the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.
The women’s suffrage movement began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls convention in New York. There, a group of 300 women and 40 men drafted a resolution stating “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure themselves their sacred right” to vote. It would take more than 70 years and two full-scale wars before women finally achieved that sacred right.
When the territory of Wyoming applied for statehood in 1889, Congress threatened to deny their admission because of their laws allowing women to vote. In response, Wyoming declared “we will remain out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without the women”. The following year, Wyoming was admitted as a state – the first US state to allow women to vote. This set a trend among a few other Western states, which passed women’s suffrage laws shortly after Wyoming’s admittance. (Colorado, 1893; Utah & Idaho, 1896).
Women voted for the first time in the 1920 presidential election. Among those voters was 91-year-old Charlotte Woodward, the last surviving member of the 1848 Seneca Falls convention.
Rhiannon Bolen shares her passion for women’s equality
Rhiannon Bolen, Vice President and Executive Account Leader at ICE Mortgage Technology, is married to BM&G Client Relations Specialist Jeff Bolen, and is a champion for women in the mortgage industry and women’s equality in the workforce. With over 20 years of experience in business-to-business sales roles, Rhiannon credits much of her success to women who paved the way before her, especially her own mother who held various senior leadership roles in the mortgage industry.
She also recognizes the discrepancies that still exist for women in the workplace. A passion to empower women and provide opportunities to breach barriers of salary and upward mobility led Rhiannon to help start Texas Women’s Mortgage Bankers, which has grown to more than 450 members. There is still progress to be made for women’s equality, but perseverance and mentorship through groups like TWMB will help pave the way for the next generation. For more information, visit https://www.texasmba.org/TWMB/. BMG staff interested in attending a TWMB event may apply for the Continuous Improvement scholarship to cover the cost of attendance.
Up next: Extra Mile: Janey Moore