Overview (Spoilers Abound):
Yet another wonderful NPR recommendation, The Woman’s Hour was a captivating look at the monumental effort put forth to gain women’s rights to voting a mere 100 years ago. Weiss builds this story around the events leading up to the ratification vote in Tennessee, along with detailing the dynamic cast who passionately made up both sides of this hotly polarizing argument. I found several facts quite remarkable while reading The Woman’s Hour that I still find myself mulling over weeks after turning the last page. The first was the fact that women have really only had the right to vote for a century. A drop in the bucket of history in general. Sure, I knew the date that the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, however I hadn’t ever really put that time into context. Secondly, I had never really thought about the role of racism within the argument against women voting. Yes it makes sense in hindsight, but it was heartbreaking to see how racism was handled by both sides of the debate and honestly left a sour aftertaste to this monumental, long overdue accomplishment. I don’t think I can ever think about Susan B. Anthony the same after learning about some of the things she said during her push for the vote. Lastly, I found it quite interesting to find correlations between the politics today and those of a century ago. Topics like voter suppression were just as relevant and served as political motivator for some parties as it is today. It is not hard to see where this talking point would fall on the clearly divided party lines today. The Woman’s Hour stirred so many wide ranging emotions, from laughing to crying, which easily transitioned to various shades of outraged fuming to general amusement. Weiss brought to life a story that seemed too over the top to be factual, but yet resulted in women being granted the right to vote, with the deciding vote coming down to a mother’s request. Yes, women being granted to vote (at least for the foreseeable future on the federal level), came down to one state and one vote. While I was reading this book, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, which granted its own level of gravity to the serious material. Overall, I can’t recommend reading The Woman’s Hour enough as it is a piece of American history that should not be relegated to the obscure recesses of a history textbook!