Women’s Suffrage


Women’s Suffrage is the women’s right to vote. Early attempts to gain suffrage for American women date back to the late 1800s. The women of the time struggled to gain political and economic equality. They worked hard for social reforms and fought for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee their right to vote. It took a long struggle for women to gain this right and even then, it was not allowed in some states. In the Constitution, the 19th Amendment passed in 1920 paved the way for women’s suffrage.

The Women’s Rights Movement

Women’s rights movement in the United States gained momentum in the 1840s. It championed the rights of the women to speak in public and to be appointed to public offices. Many conventions were held, and resolutions were passed to discuss the rights of the women. At the time, the right to vote was among the most important demands of the movement. Along with it, women also fought for social, economical and political equality as well to bring reforms in the society.

Seneca Falls Convention

Seneca Falls Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19-20, 1848. It lasted for two days and gained much attention and popularity around the States. The session had six sessions on different topics where the participants discussed the laws regarding social, religious and political issues in society.

Presentations and discussions were held over the role of women in the society. Seneca Falls Convention led to many other conventions later on and became a basis for women’s rights movement.

The 15th Amendment

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed. It stated that the right to vote should not be denied on the basis of race. The amendment effectively granted suffrage to the recently emancipated African-Americans across the country. Although the women activists celebrated the fact that this was a step forward, they also criticized the amendment.

This was because it limited the right to vote to men. For this reason, women’s rights activists sought to change the text of the amendment to make it gender-neutral but they failed.

The 19th Amendment

During World War I, women played an important role at the home front and their sacrifices were greatly recognized. In the 19th Amendment of US constitution, women were given the right to vote. The amendment was ratified on 18th August, 1920. This ended almost a century of protests by women in US.

Affect and Aftermath

There were many positive outcomes of women’s suffrage. After getting their right to vote, women started to gain more exposure and involvement in the social, economical and political areas of the society. They also started entering male-dominated areas like medicine, politics, clergy, and law.

The salaries of female employees started to rise, although they were still nowhere near those of the salaries of males. Still, suffrage was a big step forward. Women started to get into colleges and gained higher education. The after effects of this movement spread to the entire States of America and gradually to Europe and other parts of the world as well.