Whatever Happened To The GOP's Pro-Women Glory Days?

Credit: ThinkStock

Credit: ThinkStock

Let's file this under "maddening, but not surprising": Yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked, yet again, the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill aimed at closing an enduring pay gap between the genders (women earn, on average, just 77% what a similar man makes).

But this confounding decision is just the latest WTF in a long lineage of GOP transgressions against women. These wrongdoings range from the benignly buffoonish (Mitt's "binder full of women") to the outright despicable (Todd Akin's infamously heinous "legitimate rape" comment), founded on a party line that includes denying women the right to choose and gutting birth control services.

While it's tempting to respond to this so-called "War On Women" with some good old-fashioned ranting and raving, we'd like to try a different approach instead: gently reminding everyone that the GOP was once (in a land long forgotten) pretty dang pro-women.


Keeping in mind that both parties have changed dramatically over the last couple centuries, let's dig in to some of the GOP's accomplishments in the fight for women's rights. The "are you f'ing kidding me?!" stance doesn't seem to be working, so maybe some positive reinforcement will?

Republicans Led The Women's Suffrage Movement

Get this: Susan B. Anthony was a Republican who once stated:

"I shall work for the Republican party and call on all women to join me, precisely . . . for what that party has done and promises to do for women, nothing more, nothing less."

Anthony wasn't the only high-profile GOP supporter of the female right to vote: The chairman of the Republican National Committee was commended by suffragists for rendering aid to their cause. Most importantly, when the 19th Amendment passed the House of Representatives in May 1919, it got the backing of 200 Republicans (19 opposed it) vs. 104 Democrats (70 opposed it). And when the amendment then went to Congress for ratification, 27 of the 36 states that said "yay" were Republican, vs. two that were non-partisan and just seven that were Democrat.

The Republican National Woman's Association Came First

The RNC-endorsed National Woman's Republican Association, led by a female attorney and temperance worker, was created in 1888. The Women's National Democratic League didn't give voice to the party's ladies until 1912.

The First Woman to Serve In The House Of Representatives Was Republican

Hero of the day! Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, became the first female to serve in the House in 1917.

See, GOP? We're not here to pummel or condemn you. Merely to help you. Keep in mind that after Republicans led the suffragist charge, they won the subsequent presidential election in a landslide, in large part due to their support for women. Perhaps above all, that fact will get the party to change its ways?

But let's just say we're not holding our breaths.

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