Let’s talk about women’s suffrage: An expert’s recommendations and resources


Candice Mayfield

UNO women and gender studies professor Dawn Cripe weighs in with recommendations for education on women’s suffrage. Illustration by Mars Nevada/The Gateway.

“My philosophy of activism and advocacy is that we do activism not because we’re brave, but because we’re afraid of what will happen if we do nothing.”

Dawn Cripe is a women’s and gender studies professor at UNO with 15 years of experience teaching the topic coupled with a lifetime worth of experience in activism.

“I’ve lived activism pretty much my whole life,” Cripe says. “Starting in student government where I became the first girl student body president at the largest high school in Idaho.”

Cripe went on to march on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi-equal rights, to testify before the Nebraska legislative panel for second-parent adoption and to walk in the Omaha women’s protest with her partner and their eight-year-old son.

This August marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. It also marks the 47th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, a national observance on Aug. 26 to commemorate the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Cripe has provided a collection of movies to watch to commemorate these milestones.

“I hope that you’ll either enjoy or be outraged with my selections,” she said.

Iron Jawed Angels

 In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Cripe recommends watching “Iron Jawed Angels,” a movie directed by Katja Von Garnier. The HBO major motion picture depicts the fictional story based upon real events of women’s suffrage and the fight for equal voting rights.

“It provides an overview of what women endured to get the right to vote,” Cripe said. “Spoiler alert: It wasn’t all confetti in a big parade that I was taught in grade school that one day.”

Hidden Figures

“Hidden Figures,” a film directed by Theodore Melfi, showcases the fight for gender equality and the impact of the intersectionality of black women. The movie tells the story of a pivotal moment in history: the victory in the space race for the United States. In the face of discrimination, Black women working as mathematicians for NASA ran the necessary operations to compete globally and achieve firsts in spaceflight.

“These women fought in the workplace, the courts, the classroom, even with other women, to earn their right to be seen and heard,” Cripe said.

On the Basis of Sex

This list would not be complete without the Notorious RBG, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Cripe recommends the biographical legal film “On the Basis of Sex” directed by Mimi Leder. The movie captures the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight against the ruling of the 1970 court case Mortiz v. Commissioner, where she defended a man’s rights to be seen in the government’s eyes, regarding benefits as a caretaker for his sick wife.

“It (the film) won her notoriety as a strong advocate for gender equality.”