Standing between her daughter and granddaughter, 91-year- old Toledo resident Jean Cieslukowski cast her vote for the first woman candidate with a reasonable chance of becoming president of the United States.
As she walked away from the voting machine at the Lucas County Early Voting Center on Oct. 24, Ms. Cieslukowski raised her right fist in celebration of her historic vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“It was a great feeling! I felt like we finally arrived!”she exclaimed.
PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Magazine
Click below to listen to the stories of the women interviewed for this article.
Ms. Cieslukowski pointed out that she didn't vote for her just because she's a woman, but because she admires Hillary Clinton because of what she has done: “She did not divorce a man on a whim. She stayed married, raised children, and has given to charities. I would like her opponent to counter some of these statements. I would like to see what he gave.”
Though Mrs. Clinton ended up winning the popular vote, Donald Trump exceeded the required 270 electoral votes, making him president-elect of the United States.
And though Mrs. Clinton reached a political milestone by being the first female candidate to head a major-party ticket, she was not the first woman to run for the nation’s highest office. That distinction belongs to Ohio native Victoria Woodhull, who ran against President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, long before women were even allowed to vote.
In August 1920, 48 years later, the 19th Amendment was ratified, allowing women in every state the right to vote.
Mary Schmidt, 100, was one of the woman who hoped to chip away at the glass ceiling in 2016.
Ms. Schmidt was only 4 when the 19th Amendment was ratified. She said she felt privileged to have an opportunity to vote for a woman president in her lifetime and that she still believes a woman is just as capable as a man.
Tommy Hartman, 77, said this election year was both fascinating and disgusting.
A former Republican, Ms. Hartman said she was thrilled to have a woman running for president. She voted on the first day of early voting, and also volunteered to work a democratic phone bank.
“In four more years, we will have voted for 100 years, and that's not very long ago,” Ms. Hartman said.“Women have come a long, long way, and I can't imagine not being able to vote. I’m too much of a rascal for that!”
On Election Day, Twyla Wheaton, 75, stood in line before the doors opened at 6:30 a.m. to cast her vote for Mrs. Clinton.
The lifelong Democrat and union supporter emphasized that she was very excited for the opportunity to vote for the first woman president in our history. “Well, the first time we had a good chance to maybe put a woman in the presidency,” she corrected herself.
Two days after the election, she was a bit more sanguine.
“I thought we had a good chance, but it didn't happen,” Ms. Wheaton sighed. “I will just have to accept it. I don’t have a choice.
“My heart was broken, and I was just so sad because I wanted to see her break through that glass ceiling. She could have healed the nation and brought people together. I was hoping for a woman president in my lifetime.”
Contact Lori King at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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