The film portrayed historical feminist figures such as Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and the events leading up to the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, granting women in the United States the right to vote.
Rago opened up the event by speaking both on the progress women have made in politics as well as how far we still have to go.
“Women today are still woefully underrepresented in politics,” Rago said reluctantly. “There are currently 22 countries that have female leaders. The U.S. is not and has never been one.”
She also explored the equal rights amendment written by Alice Paul in 1923 guaranteeing equal rights to women. During her introduction Rago recognized that the amendment has still not been ratified.
Throughout the movie, students were exposed to the many obstacles Alice Paul and other suffragists faced, such as funding, the difficulty of spreading awareness, racism, tradition, retaliation and violence.
Students were surprised to learn how inhumane the protesting suffragists were treated. “I was shocked to learn about the [forced] feeding tubes, and the harsh reaction to picketing a wartime president,” Michelle Ramos said after seeing the film. Ramos is a history major at Armstrong and in her third year.
Though this was new information for some, others felt the corruption and abuse in the film was relevant to today’s social inequality.
“We continue to live in a patriarchal society in which women, including other oppressed groups, such as African Americans, continue to fight for equality,” Armstrong Sophomore Bridget Gallagher explained, “The police corruption that took place when Alice Paul was protesting, inside and outside the women’s prison, is still an ongoing issue.”
Even so, the eventual success of women’s rights suffragists undoubtedly paved limitless roads for women across the U.S. to become more involved with politics and society.
The fight for gender equality may look like a rough road ahead, but looking back on all the progress that has already been made shows just how possible the impossible goals can be.