History of the Greater Dayton Area League

By Deb Wenig and Carolyn Bridgman

Gaining the Right to Vote

Courageous, fearless and determined women paved the way for women’s rights, including suffrage. We remember two sisters, Angelina and Sarah Grimke in the 1830s and Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt. There were scores of others, both leaders and followers active around the nation and in Ohio. As interesting note for Ohioans: Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was educated at Oberlin College, the first college to open its doors to women (1837).

In 1912, 10,000 women paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. Woodrow Wilson was President. These dedicated women, wanting him to realize that women should have voting rights, formed the suffrage parade to emphasize just how determined they were. In 1916, both leading political parties endorsed woman suffrage. After four more years, in 1920, the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) formed the League of Women Voters, much to the displeasure of most politicians and the press. By 1920, all states had ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, using Susan B. Anthony’s words of 45 years earlier: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”