The Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial, catalyzed by Indiana Humanities, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Historical Bureau and many other grassroots and local partners, will mark the anniversary of the 19thAmendment in 2020. We invite Hoosiers to honor the ideas and ideals that fueled the suffrage movement in Indiana and the people who led the way; to engage in a conversation about inclusion, equity, perseverance and power; to consider what remains to be done to ensure that our democracy truly includes everyone; and to identify and act on the lessons of the women’s suffrage movement.
Though the history of women’s political efforts is complex, its themes translate to a wide variety of ages—even young ones—and deal with many questions that we’re still asking today. Here are a few ways you can use the anniversary of women’s suffrage to have important conversations with your sons and daughters, engage with the humanities and have a little fun too!
Little Feminist Board Book Set by Emily Kleinman, & Lydia Ortiz (baby): Comprised of colorful illustrated portraits of real women who have made a historical impact on the world.
This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub (ages 3-5): Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training.
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockcliff (ages 5-8): In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car, embarking on a bumpy, muddy, unmapped journey ten thousand miles long. They took with them a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine, a wee black kitten, and a message for Americans: Votes for Women!
Girls for the Vote by Linda Newbery (ages 6-9): Paulina Stubbs, a twelve-year-old girl in 1914, finds her neat and uncomplicated world upturned when two neighbors arrive to live upstairs from Polly and her family.
What Is the Women’s Rights Movement? by Deborah Hopkinson (ages 8-12): From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton, women throughout U.S. History have fought for equality. Celebrate how far women have come with this inspiring read!
Vote with your child. There’s no better way to demonstrate the value of voting to young people than to lead by example. The next time you vote in a local or national election, take your little one along with you and discuss the importance of what it means to be involved in the choices that those in charge are making.
Hold an in-home election. Create a ballot for your child that relates to one of your everyday household occurrences: what’s for dinner, what movie to watch, what game to play, etc. Show them how their vote counts when it comes to making that decision. Then discuss how adults get to vote for the policies that the government makes, but that that was not always the case. Explain how some groups of people had to fight for their right to make their voice be heard.
Have a sash- and sign-making party. Many supporters of women’s suffrage wore sashes and made signs for rallies and parades during the fight for the right to vote. Make a “Votes for Women” sash or sign with your child using paper, markers, glue and other craft supplies. After you make the sash and signs, talk about what it means to be an activist, and have your own suffrage parade in your home!
This post was written by Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit which connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. As a convener, leader and partner, Indiana Humanities promotes the public humanities and engages Indiana’s community of minds to create stronger, more vibrant communities. Learn more at www.indianahumanities.org.