Of women?

Thinking Skill: Explicitly assess
information and draw conclusions
Objective: Understand the nature of
early 20th century women’s reform in the
larger context of the Progressive Era
What characteristics would
you want in a leader?
Self Reliant
Which of these columns
reflects the “traditional”
view of men? Of women?
Self Reliant
Are men seen as leaders
because they possess these
Are these traits ascribed to men
because they have traditionally
been leaders?
Struggle for Suffrage
Suffrage Movement originated in
1848 at Seneca Falls, NY
Disrupted by Civil War
Split over support of 15th Amendment
Early Leaders
Susan B. Anthonyorganized National
American Women’s
Suffrage Association
(NAWSA) in 1890
President through 1900
Elizabeth Cady StantonProminent member
“Women deserved to vote because they were equal to men.”
Women’s Movement
Educated Middle Class Women
Formed a “Grass Roots” Movement
Sought Suffrage: The right to vote
Actions: Lobbied Legislators, Held Rallies,
Parades, and Distributed Literature
Women first receive
the right to vote
in the West
Voting in the West
By 1910, women had full suffrage in
four western states
Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho
What might explain the success of
women’s suffrage in the West?
NAWSA in the 1900s
Carrie Chapman Catt- focused on
women’s unique role
Assumed Presidency after 1900
Developed “Winning Plan”- push for
suffrage at both state and federal
Supported by white,native-born, middleclass women
Carrie Chapman Catt
Alice Paul
“Iron Jawed Angels” background
Differences in goals between NAWSA
and NWP
Alice Paul’s Woman’s Party
Lobbying President Wilson at
the White House
Leaflet written and distributed by Alice Paul
outside of the White House in 1917.
“President Wilson and Envoy Root are
deceiving Russia. They say "We are a
democracy. Help us to win the war so that
democracies may survive." We women of
America tell you that America is not a
democracy. Twenty million women are
denied the right to vote. President Wilson is
the chief opponent of their national
enfranchisement. Help us make this nation
really free. Tell our government that it must
liberate its people before it can claim free
Russia as an ally.”
Strong AntiSuffrage
What reasons would men have to
oppose women’s suffrage? What
reason would women have to
oppose their own right to vote?
Anti-suffrage Quotes
“I am satisfied with my present position, and of my
almost unlimited power of usefulness, that I have
no need of a vote, and should not use it if I had it.”
-Edith Milner, writing in The Times, 29 October 1906
“I regard women as superior and I don’t like to see
them trying to become men’s equal. “
-Miss Violet Markham, speaking in October 1910
This cartoon (drawn by a man) stereotypes
Suffragettes as bitter old crones engaged in a genderwar against men.
Groups like the
National Association Opposed to
Woman Suffrage (NAOWS).
Were opposed to women
gaining the vote because
they believed that women
belonged in the domestic
rather than the political sphere
of life.
Alleged Areas of Difference Between Men and
Women (Summary of newspaper stories and
editorials from the early 1900s).
1. The “frailty” of women make them “unsuited” for the vote.
“Once a woman arrived [at the polling place] she would have
to mingle among the crowds of men who gather around the
polls…and to press her way through them to the ballot box.
Assuming she reached the polling place, she might get
caught in a brawl and given women’s natural fragility, she
would be the one to get hurt.” (Mayor, 64)
2. “Allowing women to vote would lead to foreign aggression
and war.” (Mayor, 65)
3. If women got the vote they would be placed in situations
where their vulnerability, based on ignorance and frailty,
would be exploited.
4. If women got the vote, they could hide extra ballots in their
dress and slip them into the ballot box unnoticed.
5. If women got the vote, they would have to mingle in the
dirty world of politics and would tarnish their naturally high
Note - Some arguments against
suffrage, from both men and women
alike, attempted to justify their
position on the grounds that women
were superior, not inferior, to men.
More common arguments against
- “Women and men have ‘separate spheres’.”
- “Most women do not want the vote.”
- “Women’s role is in local affairs.”
- “Women are already represented by their husbands.”
- “It is dangerous to change a system that works.”
- “Women do not fight to defend their country
- “Women would be corrupted by politics and chivalry would
die out”
- “If women became involved in politics, they would stop
marrying, having children, and the human race would die
-” Women are emotional creatures, and incapable of making
a sound political decision.”
Even when the position appeared to have be in favor of women’s voting
rights, the argument used was often based on prevailing stereotypes
that were grounded in false assumptions about gender roles
Words on the cartoon:
"Woman Devotes Her
Time to Gossip and
Clothes Because She
Has Nothing Else to Talk
About. Give Her Broader
Interests and She Will
Cease to Be Vain and
Who is she appealing to here?
Jane Addams – Why Women
Should Vote (1915)
“[I]f woman would fulfill her traditional
responsibility to her own children; if
she would educate and protect from
danger factory children who must find
their recreation on the street… then
she must bring herself to use the
Steps toward the 19th amendment
Between 1878, when the amendment was first
introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920,
when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for
women worked tirelessly, but strategies for
achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a
strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state-nine western states adopted woman suffrage
legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only
voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used
tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger
strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance.
Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes
physically abused them.
Steps toward the 19th amendment
August 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the
ratification of the 19th amendment to the
Constitution. The amendment guarantees all
American women the right to vote. Achieving this
milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle;
victory took decades of agitation and protest.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, several
generations of woman suffrage supporters
lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced
civil disobedience to achieve what many
Americans considered a radical change of the
Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see
final victory in 1920
“Right to vote
shall not be
denied or
abridged on
account of sex”
In part due to
timing (WWI)
What is the central message of this
Reform Campaigns
Besides Suffrage
many women joined
the progressives
Labor conditions
(women equality/child)
Birth Control
Foods and Health
Other early 20th Century
Women’s Efforts:
Margaret Sanger- crusade for birth control
Florence Kelly- child labor protection,
National Consumer’s League
Carrie Nation- Temperance movement to ban
alcohol- Women’s Christian Temperance
Union (WCTU) organized in 1874
Jane Addams – Settlement House
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Margaret Sanger
The Case for Birth Control
Prevent women in the slums from having
unwanted pregnancies
First birth control clinic in the US
Questions for Discussion:
Was birth control more important than
the right to vote, or equality in the
Is birth control the solution to
preventing the death of children in
Charlotte Perkins Gillman
Wrote “Women and Economics”
History of sexual discrimination
Thesis: Subordination of women is result of their economic
dependence on men. Women should seek equality in the
workplace, no longer focus on “domestic sphere.”
Discussion: How equal is the workplace
What are some solutions to help women in
the workplace?
Should women be allowed to participate in
all jobs that men participate?
Are men or women better at certain
domestic tasks?
Continuing stereotypes..
When my predecessors at TIME reviewed
ecologist Rachel Carson’s book Silent
Spring 50 years ago this month, they were
less than impressed. While the piece
praised her graceful writing style, it argued
that Carson’s “emotional and inaccurate
outburst” was “hysterically overemphatic,”
which I believe is a fancy way of saying
that the lady writer let her feelings get the
best of her
Time 2012