Daily Video

August 17, 2020

At the centennial of the 19th Amendment, what does gender inequality look like?


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript, click here.  And be sure to sign up for PBS NewsHour EXTRA’s sixth Summer Teacher Zoom Meeting on “Suffrage, the 19th Amendment and Voting Rights” on WED. August 19th at 3pm EST. RSVP: bit.ly/819zoom


Summary: This week it will be 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women in America the hard-fought right to vote. 

  • Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920, marking the amendment’s full passage into law. The amendment had passed both houses of Congress the year before.
  • The first U.S. presidential election in which women from every state could vote under the 19th Amendment was the 1920 contest in which Republican Warren Harding defeated Democrat James Cox.
  • The passage of the 19th Amendment came down to just one vote in Congress. (Follow the link to read about “Five things you might not know about the 19th Amendment.”)
  • After 100 years, there is still progress to be made on many fronts, according to Amanda Zamora, a co-founder and publisher of The 19th, a digital newsroom dedicated to covering gender rights.

A. Warm up questions:

  1. What is suffrage?
  2. What have you learned about suffrage that you didn’t know before?
  3. What are some ways that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women, according to Zamora?
  4. If elected, Kamala Harris would be the first woman to serve as vice president in the U.S. (no woman has served as president). Why do you think no woman has been elected president or vice president despite women having access to the vote for 100 years?

B. Focus questions:

  1. What are some ways the COVID-19 crisis might be affecting women differently than men? Consider possibilities beyond the examples Zamora provides.
  2. In what ways do you think having political representation through the right to vote can help address inequality?
    • In what ways is voting not enough to address inequality?

C. Media literacy: In this clip, Amanda Zamora provides statistics about the ways COVID-19 has affected women in the United States, including the prediction that 8% of women’s jobs lost to the pandemic won’t return. What other information would better help you put the stats Zamora provides in context?

If there is time: If you’d like to learn more about the history of the 19th amendment and the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, check out this timeline or examine clips on suffrage from the Ken Burns documentary on suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Extension Activity: Discuss with your students the role Black women played in the suffrage movement after watching this video produced by the KD Hall Foundation

After watching the video, answer the following questions:

  • Who was Ida B. Wells, and what role did she play in the suffrage movement?
  • Why was her perspective important in pushing forward the goals of the suffrage movement?
  • How did the suffrage movement help support other civil rights movements, and how did other civil rights movements help support women’s suffrage?
  • What kinds of inequality for some women did the women’s suffrage movement fail to address?

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