Prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment being certified on the 26th of August 1920, many small steps led to women’s suffrage being adopted as the law of the land. Over the years resistance, arrests, beatings, imprisonment, and derision followed the suffragists. This movement ultimately resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment in the U.S. Congress in June 1919, with ratification completed in August 1920. A minimum of 36 states were required for ratification. Wisconsin was the first to ratify, in June 1919. Iowa was 10th, less than one month later. Tennessee tipped the balance in a famously contentious vote on Aug. 18, 1920.
Many infamous Iowa women from all walks of life led the fight - both locally and nationally - to grant women (and also men) in the United States the right to vote, yet many of their stories are unknown to most Iowans. As we commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, we would like to take time to tell these “Profiles of Courage and Persistence.” Much of women’s history throughout the United States is unwritten or difficult to find in history books. It is important that Iowans are aware of the long and difficult battle these women fought so that all citizens could have access to the ballot.
New profiles will be added throughout the year. This series will also focus on individuals and organizations that are still fighting so that all can participate fully in civic life. Although the journey of women gaining the right to vote was hard won, there is still much work left to do.
The struggle? Hard Won. The status today? Not done.
For more information, please contact:
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Office on the Status of Women
Hard Won, Not Done committee