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Event stresses suffrage

Nov. 2, 2006

Staff writer

In the early 20th century, instead of designer sunglasses and purses, the accessories du jour for American women were gold and purple buttons with slogans reading "Standing together women shall take their lives in their own keeping" and "Votes for women."

To commemorate this time period and to encourage robust voter turnout, the junior class is sponsoring The Real History of Women's Suffrage at 7 p.m. in Hankamer School of Business' Kaiser Auditorium.

The event centers on the screening of the 2004 HBO film Iron Jawed Angels.

Junior class secretary/treasurer Jenny Parker said the Hilary Swank movie is an accurate depiction of the women's suffrage movement circa 1919.

"We've decided to show the movie to gear up for the elections and to get people to recognize what happened in the past so that women could vote," Parker said.

Ramona Curtis, director for leader development and civic engagement, will provide an introduction to the film.

"The reason I'm participating is that we as women have come a long way in American society," Curtis said, "but we still have challenges before us."

Despite major advancements in women's suffrage and women's rights, a glass ceiling still exists, Curtis said.

"It's everywhere," Curtis said. "Even looking at tenured faculty in a university setting, the ratio between men and women is unbalanced."

Parker said the more people the film reaches, the better.

"If one more person votes on Tuesday as a result, then we've done a good job," Parker said.

Junior class Vice-President Daniel Voight said he hopes the movie will get more people, both male and female, to the polls.

"It's good to see what we've done in this country," Voight said, referencing the women's suffrage movement. "People should go out and take advantage of that and not be lazy."

Parker said the movie focuses on Alice Paul, a women's rights activist who was imprisoned and tortured for protesting America's lack of women's suffrage.

"Her main idea, and really the idea of the whole movement, is 'If we don't work on this now, when will we get it and how much longer will we have to wait?'" Parker said.

Parker said many people focus on women's suffrage icons like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, but that Alice Paul should be added to that pantheon.

"She was vital to the movement," Parker said. "The right to vote wasn't as hard to get for men as it was for women."

The event is free and open to Baylor students, faculty and staff.