Women are nowhere close to equal to men in the United States. They are underpaid. They are underrepresented in government. Their work is undervalued. And the burdens of a functioning society—domestic labor, childcare, healthcare, education—fall disproportionately upon their shoulders.

Yet in every modern election cycle, pundits and strategists fret over the need to win over some particular demographic of women—usually some simplistic, monolithic model like “soccer moms” or “security moms.” However antithetical the messaging, everyone can acknowledge that women are a driving force in American democracy.

It’s been a century since American women won their fight for the right to vote. In recognition of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the associated (if incomplete) revolution it ushered in, the McCloskey Speaker Series invited three powerful women leaders to speak. Katherine Grainger, Ai-jen Poo, and Cecile Richards are each individually accomplished. Together with Alicia Garza, they launched Supermajority, a home for women’s activism.

Grainger reminded the audience that a hundred years ago women said they weren’t looking for political power; they were “trying to create a world where [they] can elect better men, and whether that was a strategy or the actual truth, it’s been a prophecy.” Until Americans understand the mistakes made by early advocates of enfranchisement—especially the sidelining of Black women who were integral to the movement—we won’t be able to create a representative modern movement.

Read the full article about women's equality at The Aspen Institute.