Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sonia Notes Jeanette Rankin for Women's History Month

“We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress.”
Sonia: That was said by the woman I'd like to note for Women's History Month, Jeanette Rankin who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress (1916). She was a pacifist and she was a Republican. But before you boo and hiss, remember things were a little different back then.
She had been a social worker and the the field secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
In Congress she drafted an amendment to expand the voting rights to include women.
After she voted against WWI, she next ran for the Senate but was not elected. In 1940, she again ran for the House. She ran on an anti-war campaign and she was elected. When the question of WWII came up, she would vote against it. She's the only Congress person to vote against both wars. Though that's the end of her Congressional career, she would remain a lifelong peace activist. On the March on Washington to demostrate opposition to the Vietnam War, she led the Jaennette Rankin Brigade (1968). She had marched on Washington before, in 1913 for women's suffrage.