Women in Ohio and across the nation began campaigning for the right to vote before the Civil War. They achieved a major victory when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. Women’s reasons for wanting to vote varied depending on their personal identities, but they all believed that voting would give them the power to change every aspect of their lives, influence social change, and improve their communities, their country, and the world.
The 19th Amendment was not the end of women’s activism, it was the beginning. Voting enabled women to further their education, pursue careers, change laws, create social service and cultural organizations, and run for office themselves.
Despite their common goal, suffragists and future activists still brought common prejudices to their work. White women often discounted problems that they did not experience, so women of color had to fight to be sure that their voices were heard. Even after the passage of the 19th Amendment, women of color had to speak out to end the discrimination that still barred American Indian women, Asian American women, African American women, and many Latinas from voting.
We invite you to read about Ohio women’s experiences as activists in their own words. What motivated and continues to motivate women to speak out? How has the experience of women’s activism changed or not changed over time? What barriers have women faced and do they still face? Do women always agree? See what these women have achieved and think about how you might join them to shape the future.
For more information
- Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change (Wright State University Libraries News Article)
- Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change (PDF)