Why Can't Women?

Submitted into Contest #80 in response to: Write about a child witnessing a major historical event.... view prompt


American Creative Nonfiction Teens & Young Adult

Anna watched as her mother put a long banner looking like a tie. It went around her shoulder diagonally that said, "Women's Rights ". Anna, age 10, wanted to ask her mother what that meant but before she could ask, her mother gave her a kiss and ran out the door. 

"Father, where did mother go? Why is she in such a rush?" Anna asked her dad. 

"She went to a meeting to discuss women's rights with people who have the same thoughts as her. I would've gone if I could but I will be staying home with you today," her father answered. 

"What's the meeting for?" Anna asked. 

"It is to discuss the unfairness of our society these days. Women are not allowed to vote, work, divorce, own property, and etc..." Her father sighed. 

"I don't think that's right at all! That's not fair!" Anna exclaimed after thinking about what he said. 

"I don't either. I just really hope your mother doesn't get in trouble," a cloud of worry filled her father's face. 

Anna went to her room and sat on her chair. She thought hard about what her dad had said. When she did, she remembered all the times girls were treated differently from the boys at school. One time when they were raising hands to go solve a math problem on the chalkboard, Anna was the only one to raise her hand. But her teacher didn't let her come up. Her teacher picked on a boy and let him do it. It had been so normal that she was just used to boys going first and boys getting the good things first. 

Later that night, Anna's mother came back home. Anna's Father rushed to the door and hugged her tight with a relieved face. Anna followed quietly and put her ears to the door. 

"Sara, be careful, please. Next time, let's go together," Anna heard her father whisper to her mother. 

"Jack," Anna's mom hesitated, "we can't. If something happens, how about Anna?" Anna flinched at her name. 

Anna walked away from the door and decided to talk to her parents tomorrow. She wanted to go to the meeting her parents were going to as well. She felt old enough to be fighting for what is right. 

The next morning, Anna woke up to the bright sun shining onto her face as if it was doing it on purpose to wake her up. She looked around her room and saw the clock. The time was 8:09 AM and Anna suddenly got up and ran to the living room, praying her parents didn't leave.

"Mother! Father! Are you still here?" Anna ran to her parents' room. 

"Anna? We are here! What's wrong?" Anna heard her mom's voice from the closet. Anna's heart filled with relief. 

"Mother, I need to talk to you about something," Anna got ready to talk to her mother. 

"Oh, is that so? Let's go drink a cup of tea in our living room. I'll be out in just 10 minutes," Anna's mother smiled. Anna smiled back because she loved to see her mother smile. 

Anna skipped to her room and put on her pretty pink lace dress that came down to the bottom of her knee. It had floral prints on it and on her waist, a white ribbon was tied. Laces were at the bottom of her dress, sleeve, and neckline. It was Anna's favorite dress. To finish her look, she put on a mustard yellow bow on her half tied hair. She skipped out to the living room, satisfied by her look. 

When she went out, she saw her mother sitting with two teacups on the table. Her mother was gorgeous with a light purple dress and a wide hat that could protect her whole face. She had painted her lips pink and her pink lips were lifted into a smile. 

"Mother, I wanted to ask you something. I want to go with you to the Women's Rights Club. Father told me all about what it is about and I want to help. I want to fight for my rights," Anna was nervous. She felt her stomach tightening. 

"Anna, darling, it isn't safe to be doing that. And you are still a child. Once you grow up. Once you are 16, I will take you," her mother had such a calm and soothing voice that Anna was convinced for a second. 

"Mother, I promise I will behave and take responsibility for my actions. Please let me go. Please please please," Anna knew this would be her last chance to go. She gathered tears in her eyes and looked up at her. Anna's green eyes were like marbles and her soft cheeks were rosy. 

Her mother sighed and sipped tea silently for a while, not responding. Anna was afraid her mother was disappointed or angry at her. 

"Anna, you have to promise me that you will act mature. You have to promise you won't talk about women's rights at school. And you have to promise to never leave my side," her mother finally talked. Anna felt as if weights were lifted off of her shoulders. 

"Yes mother. I will," Anna got a huge smile on her face. 

"Today, I am going to have some tea time with the group's leader, Ms. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I will ask if you can come to the Seneca Falls Convention next week," her mother said as she looked at her daughter with a proud face. 

Anna nodded fiercely. She then sipped her tea like her mother, like a mature grown up. 

"Anna, if Ms. Stanton says yes to you, you can come join one of the protests. Do you know the street where men's offices are lined up?" Anna's mother asked. 

"Yes, is it the street we always pass when we are going to get fabric from Ms. Stun?" Anna was pretty sure it was but wasn't sure. 

"Yes, you are very intelligent! We only went past that street two streets!" Her mother was amazed. 

Anna smiled, feeling mature. Having a grown up conversation with mother is so fun, Anna thought. She was already ready to go protest. Ready to hold up signs like the ladies do. 

"Oh! It's 9 o'clock already! I must go now Anna. I will let you know what Ms. Cady says later tonight," her mother stood up and grabbed her handbag, getting ready to leave. 

"Bye mother! I will miss you. Hopefully you bring good news," Anna giggled as she crossed her fingers for good luck. Her mother giggled back and blew kisses towards Anna. 

Anna closed the front door and closed her eyes, smiling in satisfaction. 

"Anna? What's wrong?" Her father's sudden voice surprised her so much that she yelped. 

"Father! You scared me," Anna giggled, "I was just so happy that mother said I can go to the S-Seneca? Convention." 

"Oh, the Seneca Falls Convention? Did mother ask Ms. Stanton?" He questioned. 

"No, not yet. She went to ask her just a few minutes ago," Anna couldn't erase her smile off her face. Her father nodded and got pancakes ready for them. 

The day passed, only increasing Anna's anxiousness and nervousness to see mother. Mother had told her she would arrive when the short needle on the clock reached 5. The short needle struck 4 and Anna knew it was time for father to leave for work. Anna had to stay home alone for one hour but it was never scary or boring. She always had things to do that would keep her busy. 

After her father left, Anna. took out her chalkboard and wrote, Seneca Falls Convention: July 19th 1848. Although she was happy, the other side of her was filled with worry because what if Ms. Stanton said no? 

Knock, knock, knock knock knock! It was mother! The secret knock pattern! 

Anna burst open the door and saw her mother with a giant smile on her face. 

"Anna, Ms. Stanton said yes!" Her mother was so excited. 

"AHHHH!" Anna jumped up and down in excitement. 

They both hugged and laughed. Right after, they went to the storage room and made a shoulder tie for Anna as well. It said, Girls' Rights. Anna was more than satisfied. 

Two days later, Anna and her mother held hands and smiled at each other as they went to their first protest together. 

"Anna, are you feeling okay? It's okay if you want to go home right now," after an hour of protesting, Anna's mother had a worried frown as she looked at her daughter's red face. 

"I'm fine. Can I just get a glass of water please?" Anna felt as if she was in one of the woods in the fireplace but she knew she could do it for another hour. She had to. 

Her mother brought her the cup of water and they continued on till the end. Standing bravely, taking in all the insults from men. 

Finally, the protest was over. The women all gathered for a cheer. They were proud. Anna was so happy to be part of them. Although she was tired and hot, it was worth it. 

July 19th 1848 

It was finally the day. The Seneca Falls Convention. Anna and her mother, just like the day they went to protest, they put on their best clothes and put their shoulder ties on. 

This time, her father was coming too. It was more exciting than going to the market to buy candy. Anna felt brave and strong as she walked to the Wesleyan Chapel with both her parents by her side. 

The meeting was long and boring. Anna had to admit that. Her eyes kept trying to close and she couldn't understand a thing. Time seemed as slow as the turtle on land. When they came out, it was starting to get dark. Anna rubbed her bottom. It hurt from sitting on the wooden chair for so long. 

"How was it Anna?" Someone came from behind her and asked. 

Anna turned around, surprised! 

"Sorry to scare you! I am Ms. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I wanted to thank you for attending our meeting today. You were the youngest woman there," Ms. Stanton smiled lovingly. 

"Ms. Stanton! Hello, I want to thank you for letting me come today. I learned so much," Anna was lying about the learning part but she considered it a good lie. 

Ms. Stanton laughed and let her go with her mother and father. 

That night, she laid down and fell right to sleep. 

After that convention, so many more women took action and even the government started to take action. As Anna grew, she never stopped fighting. 

August 18th, 1920 

"WOMEN CAN VOTE" It was the main headline of the news today. Anna, aged 90, read it aloud, crying in joy. She was so happy that she couldn't express it. The voting day came and she held hands with her daughter to vote. 

Oh, how I wish mother and father were here... Anna thought.

February 13, 2021 04:56

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