Centenarian women spotlight their support for Hillary Clinton


    A day Ruline Steininger waited 103 years for


A day Ruline Steininger waited 103 years for 02:18

Story highlights

  • The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920
  • Not everyone in this demographic thought they'd see this day coming

Washington (CNN)Less than a week before the first woman to be a major party nominee faces her rival on Election Day, women with nearly a century or more under their belts are sharing what it will be like to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Not everyone in this demographic thought they'd see this day coming. The political opportunities available to women when centenarians were born were so limited that some of them, like Estelle Liebow Schultz, never considered that a woman would one day serve in the White House.
"I never thought much about a woman being president, or about any women who might have been good presidents. There were no role models for that," the 98-year-old wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday. "When Hillary Clinton was in the White House as first lady, I never imagined her running for president. But I also never thought much about whether we would have a black president before I voted for Barack Obama in 2008."
    And while the supporters are quick to acknowledge Clinton's 30 years of public service as a motivation for their support, they aren't shy about acknowledging that gender influenced their decision.
    "I think women do bring something different to office, a sensitivity that most men don't have," said Schultz, an educator. "I saw the election of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Merkel, May and Hillary would be a wonderful triad to rule the world."
    "Maybe they'd be able to bring about some peace and quality growth that hasn't happened yet," she added.
    At 103, Ruline Steininger became one of the first people in Iowa to vote in person for Clinton during early voting in September, a day she didn't take for granted that she was able to see.
    "I'm going to help all the way. I'm voting today," she told CNN in September. "I'm not taking any chances and leaving it 'til the election. When you're 103, you make every minute count."
    Steininger, a former school teacher, wrote Clinton earlier this year to share what it was like witnessing the first African-American president -- Obama -- and the first Catholic president -- John F. Kennedy -- move into the Oval Office.
    "In my second century, I look forward to seeing a woman president," she wrote.
    Jerry Emmett remembers going to the polls with her mother to cast her first vote. The retired educator was born in 1914 and has spent a century watching opportunities open up to women that were previously closed because of their gender.
    "We all walked out in the middle of the street and cheered, like they're cheering here — because my mother was going to get to have a say! That was something," Emmett told the Arizona Republic newspaper.
    Emmett, honorary chairwoman of the Arizona delegation to the Democratic National Convention, is known by many for her impassioned follow-up to Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego announcing at the convention that 34 members of the state's 85-member delegation were voting for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
    "And 51 votes for the next president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton," the 102-year-old said to cheers.
    Women were not given the Constitutional right to vote until the passage of he 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. Even after this, many women of color were denied the right to vote.
    Federal legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in voting was not passed until 1965.