Angelina Gomez

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy | Denver, CO | 11th Grade

Inspirational Family Member
My Great-Grandma

Over my Thanksgiving break, I found out the first person in my family to vote was my great-grandma Bessie. My great-grandma was born in Guadalupe on March 14, 1939. Although her mom could have voted when it was finally legal for women to vote (August 13, 1920), she didn’t.

I asked my great-grandma why her mom never voted. She said my mom never cared about politics or wanted to get involved. When I asked my great-grandma how old she was when she first voted, I was beyond shocked when she told me she didn’t vote until she was 34 years old. I asked her why it took her so long to vote. Again, her answer shocked me, but I wasn’t surprised. Her response to me was that she never saw politics as something important. She said none of her family had educated her enough on the topic of voting or encouraged her to vote.

My great-grandma had eight kids and she said she was too busy taking care of household chores rather than being involved in politics. My great-grandma’s husband worked and provided for eight kids, he wouldn’t allow my great-grandma to get a job because he didn’t think it was right. She said he was the “man of the house” and on top of that she never had a driver’s license.

 Although my great-grandma was born after the 19th Amendment, and an adult almost 20 years later, it showed me that many people were still stuck in the same mindset that women are meant to stay home. My great-grandma said that she decided to vote when her sister told her to because her sister expressed the importance of voting. Now the younger generation in my family believes it is very important to vote because without our opinion and our voice, what’s the point of having a democracy?

Historical Figure I Admire
Margaret Llewelyn Davies

Have you ever wondered how it came about that women were finally able to vote? Too often people take rights and freedoms, such as the ability to vote for our leaders, as an everyday privilege when really it was a difficult fight to get all Americans the right to vote, especially women. One incredible woman who was part of the Women’s Suffrage Movement is Margaret Llewelyn Davies. She was born at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland in England in 1861. Her father was a Christian Socialist and a strong supporter of women's rights. After attending Girton College, Cambridge, Llewelyn Davies became involved in several progressive causes. She is an important woman because she fought for many women’s rights besides voting such as making divorce legal, and helping push the healthcare system to offer prenatal care to infants. Her efforts to push forward women’s rights cannot be understated.

Margaret Llewelyn Davies made major contributions when it came to the Suffrage Movement. When she was 16 she joined several progressive causes when it came to women’s rights, one of them being the Women's Co-operative Guild. She knew she wanted a better life for herself and her future children, as well as for all women to have many basic rights that were afforded to men. Not only was she a member of the Women's Co-operative Guild, but she also wrote many books to educate people on the life of women and just how intelligent and capable women are. One of those books was “Life as We Have Known It,” which she published in 1931, and it outlined the struggles women faced in society. She also took part in peaceful demonstrations; one of those included the sandwich-board picket in 1912 that sought to gain equal rights for women. Under the Women's Co-operative Guild she was able to investigate under 2,000 employed women in co-operative stores, and the WCG advocated the introduction of a minimum wage. By 1912 the Co-operative Wholesale Society and 200 other retail societies had complied with the WCG's policy on wages. All the movements she joined were to help women alike to come together and fight for a cause that would later impact women to this day. 

But what motivated her the most was her father and seeing how much he wanted a better life for his daughters. Overall her contributions to the suffrage movement changed everyday things that many take for granted such as better working conditions for women, better pay, the right for women to file for divorce and be able to vote. She worked really hard to make sure no other women had to fight for basic rights and equality ever again. Because of Margaret Llewelyn Davies women are able to enjoy many rights previously denied to them. Although women sadly still have a long way to go, Davies was able to make the process a lot smoother. With her determination and how involved she was with several progressive causes, women are able to be more educated and have so many more opportunities than she had in her lifetime.

What the Project Means to Me

Researching the topic of the women’s suffrage movement opened my eyes. And in between the interview with my great-grandma and researching women who joined the movement, it made me feel so much more grateful for everything I’m able to do as a woman compared to women 100 years ago. I never questioned why I am able to vote, go to school, and I definitely didn’t think to divorce someone was something women had to fight for. It upset me seeing that many women my great-grandma’s age didn’t see how lucky they were to be able to vote. It also made me sad to know, that even after the movement many women were still stuck in the mindset that being a housewife is all they can or should be. I know that when I turn 18, I want to vote and let my mind be heard because, in my opinion, what’s the point of being a democracy if we, as people, don’t use that to our advantage? And when I have kids of my own I want to teach them the importance of voting and that everything they have people had to fight for. Overall I’m really glad I got to study this topic. Learning about the women’s suffrage movement made me grateful for day-to-day things I do every day such as going to work, school, and being outside of the house. And, I can’t wait to tell my sister’s generation the importance of everything they have, basically school and voting.

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