August 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, forever protecting women’s right to vote. This event, highly considered one of the most important events in American history, led to a number of positive changes that have impacted the United States beyond granting women electoral power.
“Women’s Suffrage and Children’s Education,” a study conducted by Esra Kose, Elira Kuka, and Na’ama Shenhav, shows that children who were exposed to suffrage during childhood were more likely to stay in school. As stated in the research, “…there is evidence that women favor higher levels of investment in children, are more pro-social, and are more egalitarian.”
Kose, Kuka, and Shenhav researched adolescents ages 15 or older who would have completed school before suffrage was granted to women and compared them to children who were involved in school when or after the 19th Amendment was passed. From their research they concluded that suffrage positively impacted enrollment rates in schools and on average increased local education expenditures by 13.9 percent within five years.
The role of the female voter historically contributed to influencing policies that led to larger investment in children and minority groups. These investments led to more educated generations of children with higher literacy rates and eventual income. Gaining access to vote led to social liberation for women in the United States, slowly evolving to additional opportunities for equality. Suffrage and the role it had in government and societal change not only helped even the playing field for women, but opened dialogue for other groups, such as minorities.
Because of the courageous suffragists who fought for equality, women continue to implement effective long-term change for education, vote at higher rates than men, and fight the ongoing battle for equality. The 19th Amendment not only granted women the electoral power to contribute to governmental change, but the ability to fight for equal opportunities in the workforce, education, and cultural and social spheres.
ProLiteracy’s mission is to change lives and communities through the power of adult literacy. We see the importance of providing women with the opportunity for education and literacy skills needed to fight poverty, contribute to greater equality, break the cycle of intergenerational low literacy, and grant the skills needed to make a more informed vote.
Through programs like Write Her Future, we can continue to empower women through literacy. Learn more about Write Her Future at https://www.proliteracy.org/Write-Her-Future-USA.