Today we commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—women’s right to vote. On Women’s Equality Day, I celebrate my right to vote and have my voice be heard!

I always grew up with this right. It wasn’t until my first high school history class that I learned the long herstory behind women’s fight for equal rights, including the right to vote. I knew that we, as women, did not always have that right. I did not realize all of the events that occurred in order to gain this right. Because the women before me fought so long and hard for my future opportunities, I made up my mind that I would vote in every election.

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Less than half of Hoosier women voted from 2004-2015, according to the Status of Women Data. As a political science and women’s studies student in college, I am fascinated by this trend. I always assumed, if given the opportunity, we would want our voices to be heard, our opinions to be represented, and our visions to make a difference in the world.

Girls Inc. shares this vision for young girls, reminding them they have an opportunity to vote and impact the people they elect to represent them. This year at summer camp, girls participated in She Votes. They learned about the hertory of women in elected office, and what qualifies a person to be a leader in public office. Girls cast their practice ballots for leaders who represented themselves: strong, smart, and bold.

Summer camper Canila said, “I liked learning about voting, and I can’t wait to vote!” I share her enthusiasm! I hope we all feel compelled to vote for those representing us. Our strong, smart, and bold voices need to be heard!