On 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, Remember That NYT’s Then-Owner Opposed It

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Featured is the outside of a New York Times bureau. (Photo credit: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images)

Featured is the outside of a New York Times bureau. (Photo credit: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images)

It was 100 years ago today that the 19th Amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote. The New York Times was not happy about it.

Adolph Ochs created “the family”—a long line of Ochses and Sulzbergers who owned the newspaper—and he was vehemently opposed to the suffragette movement. He reportedly took “great satisfaction” when the suffrage amendment in New York went down in defeat in 1915.

Why did the owner and publisher of the New York Times want to deny women the right to vote? He reportedly feared it would make women similar to men, remove them from the home, and dilute motherhood.

It is certainly true that women’s equality has made women more like men, rather than vice versa—they have become just as crude.

Consider that yesterday, Joe Biden would not talk to the media on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, but he did recently grant an interview to Cardi B, whose new song was labeled by the New York Times as “perhaps the raunchiest No. 1 single in history;” he could not read her lyrics on the air. Also, caught on a hot mic at last night’s convention, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “joked” with the crowd, calling them “motherf******.” This is what passes as equality these days.

Women have been working out of the home for decades. Are they happier? The results are not encouraging. Prior to the 1980s, surveys showed that women reported being happier than men, but starting in the 1980s, the happiness gap disappeared. By the 1990s, women were more likely than men to say they were unhappy, a trend that continues today.

That motherhood has been demeaned is incontestable. Ironically, feminists have done the demeaning, lambasting mothers as “breeders.”

Does this mean that Ochs was right to oppose women’s suffrage? No. There are more variables to consider other than the three he cited.

No matter, when we combine Ochs’ opposition to women’s equality with his ancestors’ record of slave ownership, the New York Times‘ pedigree looks embarrassingly bad. It also undercuts its moral authority to lecture the Catholic Church, or any other institution.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

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