Flexing their female vote | TheUnion.com

Flexing their female vote

Karin Kleinhans ties a Rosie-the-Riveter bandanna on Payton Parker, 6, as they get ready to march in the Constitution Day parade.

There were Presidents and marching bands, Shriners and veterans, all gathered to take part in the 46th annual Constitution Day Parade down Nevada City’s Broad Street Sunday afternoon.

One of the most collaborative groups on hand – some wearing iconic Rosie-the-Riveter red and white polka-dot bandannas and some dressed as suffragettes – bopped along to Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” as they waited their turn.

Members of the Business & Professional Women of Nevada County joined forces with See Jane Do, the local chapters of the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women and Gather the Women, to publicize an important message.

“We’re just trying to get all women to vote,” said Karin Kleinhans. “This is non-partisan, it’s not about the party you belong to … I think women’s issues are so personal to women, especially right now. Women may not want to talk about it – but they can vote about it.”

Kleinhans, a member of BPWNC, said the original idea came from Debbie Lange, when the group was looking for a Relay for Life theme. The group all dressed as Rosie the Riveter, and ended up winning this year’s spirit award.

Rosie was a “mythical icon,” Kleinhans said of the fictional character who represented the many women who entered the workforce during World War II. “She really stood for strength and courage and honor and determination. That concept helped America get through those troubled times.”

Alice Stokes Paul, the founder of the Women’s Party and one of the primary movers behind the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920 that gave women the right to vote, was the inspiration for “suffragist” Angie Lux, who was marching in costume while carrying a sign emblazoned with a quote from Paul.

“‘Standing together, women shall take their lives in their own keeping,'” Lux said. “It’s still the same (today). We don’t need Congress to tell us what we can do and what we can’t do.”

Women can’t afford to remain on the sidelines during this election, said Elisa Henderson Parker of See Jane Do.

“It’s a vital time right now for women to come together, to flex our power as women,” she said. “If we all get out and vote, we can actually make a difference.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.

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