Ninety years ago today, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.  The amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878, but it took extensive campaigns by dedicated activists more than four decades to challenge accepted social norms and allow women equal opportunity as citizens.  These “first-wave” feminists, born out of the abolitionist movement, pushed hard for suffrage, access to higher education, and equality in the workplace.

Today women have made their mark all over America as influential policymakers, business leaders, and social activists.  Women have voted at consistently higher rates than men since 1980, and have voted in higher numbers than men since 1964.  They receive the majority of higher education degrees granted at all levels from Bachelor’s to Ph.D.’s.  Even the pay gap is virtually closed for young professionals in America!  Women today are highly capable and they contribute tremendously to our country and the world.

Those original suffragettes would be proud of the status that American women of the twenty-first century have achieved, but they would likely not recognize the radical feminist agenda that is so out of touch with true empowerment.  True feminism, in the fashion of the first wave, encourages women to be educated, to take a more active role in their community, and to be aware of what is at stake in property rights.  The radical social agenda that has hijacked feminism seeks to achieve just the opposite by working against reforms to open opportunity for individuals such as school choice, entitlement reform, and privatized health plans.  Their agenda pushes women into the arms of government, creating damning dependency both socially and economically – all under the banner of independence.  Fostering a growing culture of dependency is so fundamentally at odds with what our Founding Fathers and Mothers set out to create in this great American experiment.

On this anniversary, remember what a blessing it is to live in a country where individual rights are granted to men and women equally, where opportunity for achievement abounds, and where voting can be a meaningful check on the power of government.  The efforts of the twenty-first century feminist movement should be focused on advancing the status of women in countries where equal rights are not recognized, not toward debilitating policies in America.