Women’s rights have progressed great lengths since the 19th century. Now 100 years ago women were allowed the right to vote, which is the focus of the 19th amendment in the U.S constitution. This upcoming week PSU is hosting the “Traveling women’s suffrage exhibit.” This exhibit will be presented on two locations on campus, it will be displayed at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, Monday Aug. 31 through Thursday Sep. 4 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibit will then change its location to the Leonard H. Axe Library, and it will then become visible Sunday Sep. 6 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Sep. 7 to Sep. 10 the exhibit can be viewed from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and to conclude the display on Friday the exhibit can be viewed from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This exhibit is a timely reminder about voting rights,” said Ruth Monnier, PSU librarian and assistant professor. “Today, women can vote because of all the women who came before us and fought for the right to vote.”
At the suffrage exhibit visitors will see a glimpse of features from historic women who took action in granting women voting rights.
“It is a reminder that every election we exercise our right to vote, we are remembering the hard work of others,” Monnier said.
The exhibit is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the Centennial Celebration Committee. This year’s theme is “learning from the past, imagining the future.”
“We (PSU) are a part of this nation-wide celebration and reminding people of the not-so-distant past of women obtaining voting rights,” said Stephanie Spitz, program coordinator of violence prevention and victim advocacy. “Educating our community about this timely topic is important, especially with this year being an election year.”
The state of Kansas was one of few states that granted women suffrage before the United States extended an official law to the entire country.
“It is easy to take for granted your rights and some individuals forget how hard the fight for voting rights was,” Monnier said. “I hope that people remember or learn about the long struggle for all women to be able to vote.”
This event is also timely because in this year’s election there is a woman runner in each of Kansas’s House and Senate races.
“More women from across the nation are running for Congress this year than ever before, and Kansas is leading the way in making history on the ballot,” said Allison Winter, States Newsroom correspondent.
Due to the pandemic there are various ways to attend and view the exhibit. Visitors can view the exhibit in person, and there will also be a virtual presentation to reduce the amount of people inside each building.
“We are hoping that a lot of people will take the time to visit the display,” Spitz said. “We’re recording a video that walks participants through the panels of the display and discusses the importance of voting.”
With the upcoming presidential election in November, the message behind this exhibit hopes to bring more awareness to students about the importance of voting and encourage more college students to become registered to vote.
“With awareness and education comes comfort in making a fully informed decision,” Spitz said. “I couldn’t hope for better voting decisions than that.”