As we move into the midterm elections, it’s important that we reflect on how crucial our right to vote is. We live in a democracy where we choose the elected representatives who will define us as communities, cities, states, and as a nation. Not long ago, women and other groups did not have the right to vote. This was a long fight and as you may know, involved many brave women who put their lives at risk in order to improve treatment of women in the future. Check out these inspiring women who made a difference in a woman’s right to vote and get inspired!
1. Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)
According to The National Women’s History Museum, Carrie Chapman Catt led the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The NAWSA “undertook campaigns to enfranchise women in individual states, and simultaneously lobbied President Wilson and Congress to pass a woman suffrage Constitutional Amendment”. In the early 1900s, NAWSA had around one million members. Carrie was a knowledgeable political strategist, suffragist, and peace activist who also founded the League of Women Voters in 1910, which aimed to bring women more into politics, according to The National Women’s History Museum. Carrie filled Susan B. Anthony’s NAWSA seat and went on to found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in 1902. After many close loved ones passed away, Carrie spent time traveling and then helped found the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915. In 1923, she published a book on the history of women’s suffrage, titled, “Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement”.
2. Alice Paul (1885-1977)
Alice Paul took real steps to help women get the right to vote, mainly with writing the Equal Rights Amendment, which she did in 1923. Her goal was to pass the 19th Amendment in the United States, something she first got inspired about from her mother, an early suffragist. According to The National Women’s History Museum, Alice was well-educated and in 1912, she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She led the Washington, D.C. chapter of NAWSA, but realized she wanted to make federal change, rather than the state changes the group was aiming for. As a result, she, joined by other members, split to form the National Woman’s Party, according to The National Women’s History Museum. On March 3, 1913, Alice and other women marched on Washington, demanding their rights, but even after this and a meeting with the President, Woodrow Wilson said it was not time for a constitutional amendment to be created. Alice continued fighting by organizing demonstrations and went on to found the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage so that lobbying congress was a primary goal.
3. Lucretia Mott (1793-1880)
Lucretia Mott was an early feminist activist and not only spoke out against issues involving sex, but also those involving race. She believed in the abolition of slavery, and her progressive viewpoint has been credited as coming from her Quaker upbringing, which stressed equality amongst people. According to The National Women’s History Museum, Lucretia and her husband joined the William Lloyd Garrison’s American Anti-Slavery Society during the 1830s. In 1833, Lucretia co-founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1848, she went on to organize the Seneca Fall Convention, which Frederick Douglass attended. In 1866, Lucretia was recognized as the first president of the American Equal Rights Association, according to The National Women’s History Museum. Her dedication to multiple causes, including those that did not necessarily impact her directly, caused her to be well-known and respected.