supporting Women’s Right, Educational Equality and Economic Policy Leadership
This Annual Lecture aims to celebrate the upcoming Centennial adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution which guaranteed that all women who are citizens of the United States have the right to vote in state and federal elections.
The lessons from almost a century ago, of the right for women to vote in the United States, is a quintessential American story of the culmination of decades of teaching, organizing, lobbying, demonstrating and even civil disobedience by supporters of the suffrage movement.
We hope that by establishing this Nineteenth Amendment Annual Lecture, we can inspire the next generation women leaders in Asia to be change agents to further help support Women’s Right, Educational Equality and Economic Policy Leadership.
The first Nineteenth Amendment Annual Lecture took place at the American Center Yangon in Myanmar (also known as Burma) on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 a day also celebrated globally as Human Rights Day.
On the back drop of Human Rights Day, Myanmar’s tragic human rights records to date, serves as a reminder of the important work that remains largely absent to resolve the after effects of the Rakhine crisis of 2017. Can a new generation of women leaders rise to the challenge to help address these human rights and many other socio-economic challenges that continue to confront Myanmar?
In choosing this date and place as the inaugural location of our Annual Lecture we hope that Myanmar’s next generation women leaders can be inspired by the pivotal role that many courageous women leaders in the United States played in overcoming tremendous injustices of their times and thereafter went on to play a pivotal role in helping transform an entire nations pursuit towards racial and gender justice after the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Delivering this first annual Lecture was Dr. Thet Thet Khine, Member of Parliament, House of Representatives & Founder of the People’s Pioneer Party, Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Distinguished Guest of Honor: Dr. Thet Thet Khine is in the minority of successful self-made women, who choose to leave the comfort zone of her well established businesses and made a decision to go into politics to help serve her countries nascent democracy in 2014. She won a seat to the House of Representatives representing Dagon Township in the 2015 general elections.
Dr. Thet Thet Khine is a medical doctor by training, with an additional doctoral degree in Public Management and Leadership. As the founder of the recently formed People’s Pioneer Party, it is our hope that in providing Dr. Thet Thet Khine with this platform she can elevate her message of championing for Educational Equality, Human Rights and Economic Policy Leadership to a larger audience in Myanmar and beyond.
Appreciation: Our special thanks to Ambassador Scot Marciel, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Burma for his intellectual support along with his entire staff at the U.S. Embassy for enabling us to host this inaugural Annual Lecture at the American Center Yangon.
Also a very special thanks to David Barrett Esq., Constitutional Scholar.
Support: If you would like to make a financial contribution for future Lectures in 2020 to honor the Centennial adoption of Nineteenth Amendment or contribute towards our Public Policy Scholarships initiative please contact us at [email protected]
About: The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
A culmination of decades of teaching, organizing, lobbying, demonstrating and even civil disobedience by supporters of the suffrage movement. First introduced in Congress in 1878, several attempts to pass a women’s suffrage amendment failed until 1919, when suffragists pressed President Woodrow Wilson to call a special congressional session. Within days, the proposed amendment was passed by both houses of Congress and submitted to the states for ratification. The Nineteenth Amendment was officially adopted on August 26, 1920.
While women had the right to vote in several of the colonies in what would become the United States, by 1807 women had been denied even limited suffrage. By the mid-nineteenth century, organizations supporting women’s rights became more active. In 1848, the Seneca Falls convention adopted the Declaration of Sentiments, which called for equality between the sexes and included a resolution urging women to secure the vote. Pro-suffrage organizations used variety of tactics, including legal arguments that relied on existing amendments. After those arguments were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, suffrage organizations, along with activists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, called for a new constitutional amendment that would guarantee women the right to vote.
By the late nineteenth century, new states and territories, particularly in the West, began to grant women the right to vote. In 1878, a suffrage proposal that would eventually become the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced to Congress, but it was rejected in 1887. By the 1890s, suffrage organizations focused on a national amendment while still working at the state and local levels. Lucy Burns and Alice Paul emerged as important leaders whose work helped move the Nineteenth Amendment forward, although they pursued very different strategies.
Entry of the United States into World War I helped to shift public perception of women’s suffrage. The National American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, supported the war effort, making the case that women should be rewarded with enfranchisement for their patriotic wartime service. The National Woman’s Party staged marches, demonstrations, and hunger strikes while pointing out the contradictions of fighting abroad for democracy while limiting it at home by denying women the right to vote. The work of both organizations swayed public opinion, prompting President Wilson to announce his support of the suffrage amendment in 1918.
The Nineteenth Amendment enfranchised 26 million American women in time for the 1920 U.S. presidential election, but the powerful women’s voting bloc that many politicians feared failed to fully materialize. As well, the Nineteenth Amendment failed to fully enfranchise African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American women.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage and was adopted into the U.S. Constitution on August 26th 1920, ending almost a century of protest, a fight led by many brave women including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony who played a prominent role in the women’s suffrage movement.