“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
On August 26th of 1920, exactly ninety-one years ago, the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, became law. Today caretakers of the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Boston Women’s Commission and the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Celebration Committee hosted Women’s Equality Day to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to honor many women who have made a contribution to Massachusetts’s civic and cultural life.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino made the opening remarks and called Bostonian women to action. He told the crowd “the right to vote is no good unless we use it, Vote!” Attorney General Martha Coakley also took a moment to make a few remarks about the great women who have paved the way for equality. She marveled at the strength of those brave ladies who fought so hard and achieved so much. Men at the time thought, if given the vote, women would neglect their domestic duties. “In my case, they were right!”, Coakley jokingly said.
One of the many women honored today was Julie Paget. Her great granddaughter Lyn Paget was present and spoke about how Julie established herself as a business owner 42 years before women had the right to vote. After more than a century, the Swan Boats are still owned and operated by the Paget family and today Julie is recognized as one of the most influential women in Boston’s history.
After the opening remarks, a small group of attendees gathered to walk the Women’s history trail to the Women’s memorial at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It turned out to be a beautiful day for such a fabulous celebration.