On this date in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution became law. The Amendment states simply: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." With fewer than 30 words, a new era of American history was ushered in.
When I first entered the Senate in 1993, the number of women Senators tripled - from two to six. Today there are a record 17 women in the Senate, and we've made tremendous progress for women in recent years. In 2009 we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act to protect women from pay discrimination in the workplace. In 2010 we passed landmark health care reform that prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same insurance or denying them coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And starting August 1st, health care reform requires insurance plans to cover birth control, STD testing and other preventive services important to women for free.
Of course, we still have a long way to go. In the workplace, women still make only about 77 cents for each dollar earned by men in comparable jobs. In corporate boardrooms and executive offices, women still bump into the glass ceiling. And in Congress and state legislatures across our country, a war against women is being waged that is threatening the rights, health, and lives of women.
As we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage, we should rededicate ourselves to ensuring that women's equality is the rule in our country, not the exception. There is no better way to honor the brave women who fought for women's suffrage and to create even more opportunities for the next generations of American women.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer