Ashley Moody: Women’s Equality Day — Inspiration and honoring those who blazed trails, shattered ceilings
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'Women Of The World Unite!'
It only took one mother to urge her son to change the course of history.

As the Republican National Convention coincides with Women’s Equality Day, I am reminded and humbled by those women who have come before me that have enabled me to be elected Florida’s Attorney General.

One hundred years ago, my great-great-grandmother, Mary Noel Moody, was one of those passionate advocates for suffrage and equality. She lived in Tennessee before later moving to Plant City, Florida.

One hundred years ago this month, Tennessee became the necessary 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Tennessee’s ratification allowed women the right to vote.

That ratification almost did not happen.

One man, Harry Burn, a 24-year old Republican Tennessee lawmaker, voted for women’s suffrage, even though his most vocal constituents did not. He did so and cast that deciding vote only after receiving a letter from his mother urging him to support equality.

One hundred years later, the stories of my great-great grandmother, Harry Burn’s mother, and so many others that came before them inspire me on Women’s Equality Day.

The value of courage and speaking up for what is right changed the course of history and allowed me to serve as Florida’s Attorney General.

While we celebrate today, the anniversary of women’s suffrage taking place during the Republican National Convention, Florida and the Florida Republican Party has much to celebrate with respect to the women leaders it has fostered.

I follow many who blazed trails and shattered ceilings before me such as:

Paula Hawkins – First and only woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida;

Toni Jennings – First woman Florida Senate President and Lt. Governor;

Pam Bondi – First woman Attorney General of Florida;

Sandy Mortham – First Republican woman Florida Cabinet member; and

Mary Grizzle – First Republican woman elected to the Legislature.

I am honored to serve with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez and numerous other strong Florida women leaders.

While there is much to celebrate on this historic anniversary, there is much more to do. Our responsibility is to lead by example, to offer inspiration for future generations, and to push young girls to reach higher.

It only took one mother to urge her son to change the course of history.

The future we help build for the next generation will be designed by who we urge to act. Let’s all honor the trailblazers before us and open opportunities for future women poised to take our place.

Doing so is the greatest respect we can pay to my great-great-grandmother and all those who came before us and pushed for the equality we were granted 100 years ago.


Ashley Moody serves as Florida Attorney General.

Guest Author


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