Your Dental Hygienist & The Right to Vote?

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14-yr. old striker, Fola La Follette, and Rose Livingston. Photograph shows suffrage and labor activist Flora Dodge “Fola” La Follette (1882-1970), social reformer and missionary Rose Livingston, and a young striker during a garment strike in New York City in 1913.

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on Earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.”  — Susan B. Anthony

The 19th Amendment, The Women’s Suffrage Movement and the right to vote for Women in America turn 100 this week, and that is worth celebrating. In our fast-paced, 21st century, tech-centric world it’s hard to imagine the very different lives people led in this country 100 years ago, and what rights were afforded to only a fraction of the population.

However, it’s very possible that your great-grandmother was alive during a time when women were not allowed to vote. In 1920 America, the automobile industry was in its infancy, alcohol was illegal, people gathered around radios at home for entertainment, the average life expectancy was around 55 and folks never left the house without a hat.

Today in 2020, Americans of many demographics might take for granted the right to vote because they cannot remember the long, hard road it took to acquire the right to vote. And considering 98% of dental hygienists and 33% of dentists are women it’s easy to understand that our office would not be the place it is today if this Amendment was not ratified. In fact, the global dental industry is made up of a large work-force who, 101 years ago would not have been granted the right to vote in America.
The work of Women’s Rights heroes like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Stone, Frances E.W. Harper, Mary Church Terrell and Alice Paul began a domino effect of change regarding the roles of women in American society. This ultimately led to better representation, improved civil rights, integration into the workplace and leadership roles within their communities.

The number of women practicing dentistry in the US and worldwide has grown significantly in the past 20 years and its impact has been felt around the globe, especially in countries where women are still struggling to be seen as equals to men in their communities and at the polls. Today, we would like to celebrate the women in our Sierra Oaks Dental team who work hard to make sure our patients have the best experience possible and those Suffragettes and Abolitionists who fought hard to see the 19th Amendment ratified.