AUGUSTA, Maine — On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. In honor of the Amendment's 100th anniversary, USA Today is highlighting influential women across the U.S. in a series aptly called "Women of the Century."
Maine Gov. Janet Mills is featured in the series, and was named one of Maine's "most influential women."
The series spotlights ten women from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who have made significant contributions to their state and to the country, USA Today says.
USA Today's criteria for "Women of the Century" include having a track record showing outstanding achievement in the areas of arts and literature; business; civil rights; education; entertainment; law; media; nonprofits and philanthropy; politics, science and medicine; or sports. They also had to have lived between 1920 and 2020.
"Gov. Janet Mills broke several barriers for women in her home state of Maine, becoming both the state’s first female attorney general and the state’s first female governor," USA Today says in its highlight of Mills.
Mills was both the state's first female governor and the first female attorney general.
On Tuesday, the day of the 100th anniversary, Mills said both of her grandmothers voted for the first time in the 1920 presidential election.
"I like to think that they would be proud that, within a hundred years of being able to vote for the first time, their granddaughter would be the first woman governor of Maine," Mills said.
Mills was chosen alongside nine other extraordinary Maine women:
- Margaret Chase Smith—the first woman elected to both chambers of U.S. Congress
- Frances Perkins—a labor activist, and the first woman appointed to a presidential Cabinet
- Florence Brooks Whitehouse—a suffragist and author
- Frances W. Peabody—an AIDS activist
- Judith Magyar Isaacson—a women's rights activist
- Olympia Snowe—former U.S. Senator
- Mabel Sine Wadsworth—a women's rights advocate
- Patricia Ryan—an equal rights activist
- Thelma Swain—a philanthropist
In addition to women from each state and D.C., the series features women in various general categories, such as politics, where women like Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Hillary Clinton are named.
“We have gained important ground in the last 100 years, but we all know women, especially women of color, are still underrepresented and still disadvantaged because of sex," Mills said. "The suffrage movement’s victories were hard won, but the work is not done. As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, let us all honor those who fought for our right to vote by recommitting ourselves to the long road towards equal rights for all.”