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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote. This year is also saw woman after woman drop out of the race to be the Democratic party's presidential candidate.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential campaign, which means that while 2020 is the #yearofthemother, we won't see a mother in the presidential race this year.
No matter who your preferred candidate (or party, even) the elimination of all women from the race for the presidency is significant. It means that while nations like New Zealand, Finland, Iceland and Namibia have women in the highest office (and plenty more countries have seen women leaders in past terms) women and girls in the United States are still waiting to witness a moment that signals political equality.
There are many Americans who believe in gender equality and are supporting Sen. Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden or President Trump—supporting one of these men does not necessarily mean a person doesn't believe in gender equality—but there are also many Americans who feel let down today and the opportunity for the United States to take an important step toward gender equality is now at least four years away.
One after another, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren ended their campaigns, but each of these women contributed very important ideas to the United States' democracy while seeking its highest office.
In her "Family Bill of Rights" Gillibrand suggested that by guaranteeing moms the right to a safe and healthy pregnancy, the right to give birth or adopt a child, regardless of income or sexual orientation, the right to a safe and affordable nursery, the right to personally care for the baby while still getting paid, and the right to affordable child care and early education, the United States could ensure that every child—regardless of income, race of gender—could reach their full potential.
Harris reintroduced the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act, aimed a spotlight at racial disparities in maternal health, and in calling to extend the school day she drew attention to the after-school care crisis that impacts so many American families.
By crediting her daughter's difficult birth and her postpartum challenges as the birth of her political ambition, Amy Klobuchar showed the country just how much mothers' perspectives are needed in politics and that motherhood isn't a handicap, but an asset.
And by hanging in there, persisting, and forcing powerful men to own their mistakes, Elizabeth Warren inspired many American women.
When she ended her campaign this week she told one last story on a call with her staff:
"When I voted yesterday at the elementary school down the street, a mom came up to me. And she said she has two small children, and they have a nightly ritual. After the kids have brushed teeth and read books and gotten that last sip of water and done all the other bedtime routines, they do one last thing before the two little ones go to sleep," Warren explained.
She continued: "Mama leans over them and whispers, 'Dream big.' And the children together reply, 'Fight hard.' Our work continues, the fight goes on, and big dreams never die."
The dreams of women in America will never die. It's been 100 years since the dream of a vote for women became real, and it may be four more years before we see a woman in the White House. But for now, we persist. For now, the fight goes on.