This week, Utah began its public celebrations honoring women of the 19th and 20th centuries who fought for rights to vote, as well as changes within our own state.

October marks the 100th anniversary of Utah’s ratification of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, granting women voting rights.

While our world today may seem more “aware” than ever before, 100 years (and 55 for all women) is hardly long at all for such a necessary and widespread political freedom that was withheld from half our population.

As Utahns, we should be proud that the women of our state led our communities in being the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment. It speaks to our early understanding of how crucial women are in regard to government participation and influencing public policy.

As reported this week, the nation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act — which made voting possible for all women — in 2020. Utah will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Utah women’s first votes and recognize the national anniversaries by sending a statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to represent Utah.

Cannon was the first woman elected to Utah’s state senate and any state senate across the U.S. What a wonderful and rich history we have to look to as mothers, daughters and wives. Examples abound as we deal with modern-day issues like underrepresentation, the wage gap, family leave, graduation rates and high rates of rape.

Cannon, and other Utah women as well (many of you voted for these influential Northern Utah women during the month of September on our website), were trailblazers and unafraid of going against whatever social norms dictated. They saw a need and made sacrifices to fill it.

As we continue to celebrate this significant anniversary in the coming year, our community will have ample time to discuss past and current women’s influence in our lives and the differences made in everyday interactions. Until the next event, you can still visit the state capitol where the original Senate Joint Resolution No. 1 ratifying the amendment is on view today from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!