On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Congress has designated August 2020 as National Women’s Suffrage Month, and celebrations are occurring across the country and in Utah to commemorate 100 years of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote.
In Utah, we’re having a double celebration: For the 19th Amendment, but also for the 150th anniversary of women voting in a congressional election under an equal suffrage law — the first in the nation. Utah’s pioneering spirit has extended not just to crossing the plains and making the desert blossom as a rose, but also to women’s rights and the remarkable achievements of women in all walks of life.
Zions Bank is supporting a project to celebrate the legacies and extraordinary contributions of Utah women, past and present, in politics, religion, education, government, business and nonprofits. We commissioned the famed artist Jann Haworth to produce a mural featuring more than 250 Utah women, representing historical figures, famous individuals, and ordinary and currently living women. (See the sample published with this column, and view a short video at http://www.utah-women.com to see how the mural was created.)
This 90-foot wide, 55-foot high mural will be unveiled on Aug. 26 (the suffrage anniversary and also the day designated by Congress as Women’s Equality Day) on the east side of the Dinwoody Building on 100 South, between Main St. and West Temple, across from City Creek Center. It will fill most of the side of the seven-story building. A “mural key” will be available identifying the women featured in the collage.
Jann Haworth is a celebrated artist who, among many other works, co-created the cover for the Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. She traveled across Utah, hosting workshops with women young and old to create images of women unified in the mural through a painstaking stencil-style process.
The images celebrate the lives and achievements of important women in Utah’s history, in the Utah suffrage movement, of contemporary women leaders, and women who are inspirational in the history or lives of the women who created the images. It includes tribal elders, community leaders, athletes, advocates, business executives, artists, educators and many other role models.
Of course, there was not enough space to include all 1.5 million women living in Utah today. Two faces were intentionally left blank to allow observers to envision the faces of women important to them — or themselves — in the mural.
Among the images of contemporary women are Jeannette Herbert, Gail Miller, Carolyn Tanner Irish, Amy Rees Anderson, Pamela Atkinson, Pat Jones, Jeanetta Williams, Crystal Maggelet, Sibylle Szaggars Redford, Susan Swartz, Sandra Hollins, Ruth Watkins, Astrid Tuminez, Deneece Huftalin, Noelle Cockett and Diane Stewart.
With the United States currently experiencing a national reckoning on equality and race, it has never been more important for us to celebrate diversity and the important role of women in business, education, politics and all fields. I hope this tribute to the past, present and future achievements of Utah women will be an enduring legacy for them.
In my years of involvement in business, civic affairs, nonprofits, education advocacy and with my own family, I have been blessed to have been tutored and supported by many amazing women. They have enriched my life and have added enormously to the enterprises and causes I’ve participated in. Their value is incalculable. Utah wouldn’t be the great state it is today without the extraordinary contributions of women.
I hope that many young women and girls will see themselves in this mural and be inspired to believe that they can accomplish great things and contribute enormously to their families, their communities, their professions and to many great causes.
A. Scott Anderson is CEO and president of Zions Bank.