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A woman's place through time

March 19, 2006|By CANDICE BOSELY

"Well-behaved women seldom make history."

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

"Eve was framed."

"A woman's place is in the House, Senate and Oval Office."

Women's rights have advanced far enough to be the topic of witty bumper stickers and T-shirts but not far enough that a month - March - isn't still needed to mark the achievements women have made throughout history.

By now, women can enter just about any career field of their choice, but a local professor said challenges still exist.

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Women earned the right to vote in 1920, but not until after they had cast ballots declared illegal, marched down streets and languished in jail cells.

Supporters of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision hail it as a landmark in the women's rights movement, but who was the woman named "Roe"? And why does abortion continue to polarize men and women?

"Hillary for President" campaign signs haven't popped up in front yards yet, but talk of former first lady Hillary Clinton running for office is fairly common - as is the notion that her chance for victory could be slim. Is America ready for a woman in the Oval Office?

And just who exactly wrote that insulting article that ran on the front page of this newspaper more than 85 years ago?

Politics and voting

It was a brief article that ran on the bottom left corner of the front page of the Aug. 26, 1920, edition of The Morning Herald.

That was the day women across the country officially gained the right to vote, following ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Headlining the local article was: "First Two Women Declare Intention of Registering."

It reads: "The first two women to declare their intention of registering as new voters appeared before the Clerk of the Court yesterday. They are Ellen Stouffer Klahre, aged 28, and Geraldine N. Hetzel, 28, both of Hancock."

From there the article turned from informational to condescending.

It continues: "The registration of these two young women brings up the question: Will women voters overcome their natural antipathy to telling their age? Of course they will have to admit being over 21, but will they care to admit to all the added years which they may be carrying?"

The answer will be known after more of the newly enfranchised citizens add their names to the registration books."

As was common, the article - perhaps meant to be humorous - carried no byline.

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