Today we celebrate the 1920 victory of American Feminists in securing suffrage rights for women.  The fight was long-fought and hard-won, and women of our time can look with respect to leaders of the 18th and 19th centuries such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

After 90 years at the ballot box, women in the United States have had considerable influence in the political world and in public policy debates.  Last summer, IWF’s Carrie Lukas and I wrote about how the feminist leaders of 90+ years ago would feel about health care reform.  Here’s a relevant excerpt from that article:

Early feminists wrote about the importance of freeing women from dependence on others and the benefits of self-reliance. As feminist founding mother Susan B. Anthony explained in 1869: “There is not the woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence, no matter whether it be from the hand of father, husband, or brother; for anyone who does so eat her bread places herself in the power of the person from whom she takes it.” In addition to father, husband, and brother, Anthony could have included government on that list, because the principle is the same.

Her feminist predecessor, Mary Wollstonecraft, writing in 1792, linked self-reliance with self-actualization: “How can a rational being be ennobled by anything that is not obtained by its own exertions?” She also wrote, “If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?” Feminist icon Cady Stanton agreed: “Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility.”

Today’s feminists focus on growing government to provide subsidies for women-essentially replacing the role that fathers and husbands once played in women’s lives with big government. That’s not really independence.

Read the whole article here.  At the Independent Women’s Forum, we strive to ensure that women have the opportunity to make decisions about their health care independent of the government’s interference.