In February, Governor Cuomo launched the 2019 Women’s Agenda to improve reproductive, economic and social justice for all New York women. Among other accomplishments and as part of the agenda, the Governor signed the Reproductive Health Act and pay equity legislation, enacted sweeping new workplace harassment protections, extended the statute of limitations for rape in the second degree and third degree and advanced a series of policies to reduce maternal mortality and racial disparities.
Read the 2017 Report from the New York State Women's Suffrage Commission.
Here's a portion of the opening letter from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Commission.
The highlight of the year was our celebration of New York’s suffrage centennial on November 6th. We lit up 30 major landmarks throughout the state in purple and gold, gathered nearly 600 women leaders at an official centennial celebration in New York City, announced the building of two new statues (Sojourner Truth in Ulster County and Rosalie Jones on Long Island), and launched a challenge calling on New Yorkers to look for the lost Declaration of Sentiments in their archives and storage, as well as in their hearts and minds (#FindtheSentiments).
As we look toward the national suffrage centennial in 2020, we will continue to highlight the leading role of New Yorkers in our nation’s journey to build a more perfect union.
The Declaration of Sentiments, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, calls for the moral, economic and political equality for women. It is the foundational document for women's rights but as far as we can tell, it is missing. Help us find this lost piece of New York State history.
On November 6, 1917, women in New York State won the right to vote, three years before the 19th amendment granted the right to women across the country. In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Hochul announced that the State will dedicate and build two statues in commemoration of suffragists Sojourner Truth and Rosalie Gardiner Jones.
The statue of Sojourner Truth will be sited on the Empire State Trail in Ulster County, where she was born. Truth was born into slavery circa 1797, sold three times, and ultimately escaped to freedom in 1826. She went on to became a noted abolitionist and women's rights advocate until her death in 1883.
The statue of Rosalie Gardiner Jones will be built in Cold Spring Harbor State Park on Long Island. Known as "General Jones," she was born and lived in Cold Spring Harbor and was respected for leading suffrage "pilgrims" on marches from New York City to Albany and Washington, DC in support of women's suffrage.
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor also officially proclaimed November 2017 Women's Suffrage Centennial Month. Text of the proclamation can be viewed here.
Buildings across New York State were lit up purple and gold, the colors of the suffrage movement, celebrating the anniversary as well.
The New York Women's Vote Centennial Project is a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and First Book celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York on November 6, 2017. The competition invites teachers to develop classroom projects and activities to mark the suffrage centennial. The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission will select 15 winners from across the State. Projects may focus on women's history, civic engagement, the democratic process, equal rights, or a related topic. Educators and students are encouraged to explore the question: 100 years from now, when future generations look back, what will our equal rights legacy be? Projects for any grade, K-12, will be considered.
Applications can be submitted at this link and are due by October 20, 2017.
Teen Voices at Women’s eNews is partnering with the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote in New York. The article by Hana Horiuchi is the first in a regular series featuring teen girls writing about what the right to vote means to them.
Teen Voices, the global girl news initiative of Women’s eNews, is partnering with the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote in New York. This editorial project will feature articles from teen girls writing about what the right to vote means (or will mean, for those under 18) to them, whether and why they aspire to be civically engaged, and how their generation should build on the suffragist legacy of advancing equal rights.
On June 1, the Commission launched #TheNext100 film series with a special screening of "Heather Booth: Changing the World" at the Paley Center in New York City. The film series, a partnership with Women Make Movies, will bring films about the women’s movement – past and present – to audiences across the state. The screening was followed by a discussion between Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Heather Booth, and filmmaker Lilly Rivlin.
April 22, 2017: Commission Co-Sponsors Women in Politics: Past, Present, and Future
On April 22, the Commission was pleased to co-sponsor the Women in Politics: Past, Present, and Future conference at SUNY New Paltz. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul addressed attendees, who also participated in engaging panel discussions with renowned scholars from across the country.
On March 27, at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new Girl Scouts patch celebrating the centennial of women's suffrage in New York. All seven Girl Scouts councils in New York will participate in the patch program, giving girls across the state an engaging way to learn about the history of the women’s movement in New York and envision how they can lead for justice. You can learn more about the patch program here, or by contacting your local Girl Scouts council.
The Commission held its first meeting of 2017 on March 1, celebrating the beginning of Women’s History Month with the launch of the Women’s Suffrage Commission’s website, public exhibits at the Empire State Plaza and the Capitol Building, and special Capitol tours focused on the suffrage movement.