Elmira celebrates a century of women’s suffrage

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100 years of progress in women’s rights that broke down society’s barriers, once keeping women disenfranchised.

Destiny Kinal remembers that time as a teenager. 

“When we began to adolesce, my brother could go out with his friends, camping, and a long, wild trip on their bikes or whatever,” Kinal said. “I was more or less confined to home and mind you I was growing up in 50s.”

Confined to her home, she did chores that were stereotypically confined to her being a woman.

“My parents were pretty fair, but they were a product of their time,” Kinal said. “I was a girl, I washed the dishes. My brother was a boy, he mowed the lawn.”

Kinal’s books look into the historical aspect of women’s suffrage that extend far beyond the last 100 years. Her work made her the keynote speaker at the 100-year celebration.

The celebration made possible in collaboration with the Community Arts of Elmira, the YWCA and Elmira College.

“That partnership itself is empowering,” Lynne Rusinko, the president of the Community Arts of Elmira’s board of directors, said. “Each of the organizations touches expression, voice, giving voice to people who want to address social issues make change.”

Kinal’s books touch on how the Iroquois lived not a patrilineal, but matrilineal way of living– One that differs from the dictionary definition.

“Matrilineal means that women rule, but in fact as the Iroquois live today,” Kinal said, “it means a culture where men and women enjoy equity.”

Tonight’s event is the first of three on women’s suffrage. The next event is next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the YWCA in Elmira. 

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