by Whitney Pitcher
Today marks the first day of women’s history month. There have been many women who have made history politically in the United States. Women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton paved the way for women’s suffrage, which finally came to fruition in the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. In 1924, Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was the first women elected governor of state. Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to serve in Congress in 1917 (yes, she could vote for herself as her home state of Montana allowed women’s suffrage prior to the Constitutional amendment). Women have been elected to state houses and Congress ever since. In 1964, Margaret Chase Smith, a moderate Republican from Maine became the first woman from a major party to run for president. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to be chosen as a vice presidential candidate. In 2008, of course, Hillary Clinton had considerable electoral success, but not victory, as a Democratic candidate for President. Later that year, Governor Palin, who was the first female governor of Alaska, became the first female Republican to be placed on a presidential ticket.
During her time on the campaign trail, Governor Palin gave a “women’s rights” speech, which was arguably one of the most underrated speeches of the campaign. She was flanked by female members of the Democratic party and other liberal women who had endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket, and she paid homage to the women who came before her in political elections and highlighted her desire to fight for the economic empowerment of the women business owners and to support oppressed women throughout the world:
In the last few years, Governor Palin’s impact many women in politics. Her endorsements in 2010 helped paved the way for New Mexico, South Carolina, and Oklahoma to elect their first female governors. Governor Palin has embraced her femininity and her unique perspective as a female politician. She has done so without feeling the need to sacrifice her pro-life beliefs, nor adhere to the traditional feminist ideology that government needs to provide more for women in order for equality to be reached. Another one of Governor Palin’s best speeches came at a Right to Life event in Indiana in 2009 where she spoke of women choosing life in the context of female empowerment, not victimhood. Her feminine political rhetoric has continued. In 2010, she has described protecting future generations both physically and economically in terms of a mama grizzly protecting her cubs:
In 2011, she has challenged the GOP Establishment to fight like a girl in her speech in Madison, Wisconsin (pardon the feedback in the audio):
Her rhetoric, action, and above all else, her impact still continue today in the lives of conservative female candidates and female grassroots volunteers (and men too). Some chapters on Governor Palin’s impact on female political history have been completed, but I have a feeling the book is far from over.