Washington Women Led the Way: National Women’s Suffrage Centennial 2020
Most women in Washington State have had the right to vote since 1910. Washington was just the fifth state in the nation to enact women’s suffrage, a fact we can all be proud of. (This 1910 right to vote extended only to those Washington State women who could read and speak English and excluded many others, including immigrant Asians and Native Americans, who were subject to restrictive citizenship laws. See The Fight for Washington Women’s Suffrage: A Brief History.)
As detailed by the Washington Historical Society in their article Washington Suffrage Centennial, 1910-2010, “Washington women’s success in 1910 helped inspire the campaign that culminated in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, when women won the right to vote nationally.” This constitutional amendment extended the right to vote to all women, regardless of race.
Now, the Governor’s Women’s Commission has partnered with the Washington State Historical Society and the Women’s History Consortium to create Suffrage100WA, a campaign commemorating the historic achievement of granting women the right to vote. With the motto “Washington Women Led the Way,” Suffrage100WA has developed programs, activities, and events, including a grant program, printable panel exhibits, a speaker series, and curriculum to support commemorations at the local level.
During the November midterms, we heard a lot about the importance of getting out to vote, and we can thank those early changemakers for their hard work in gaining women the right to vote. A great way to commemorate this is to apply for a Suffrage100WA’s Votes for Women Centennial Grant, which are available to Washington State agencies and nonprofits to support programming that celebrates the national suffrage centennial across the state. Grant applications that support the following goals will be considered:
- Celebrate historic and current women of Washington
- Increase civic engagement of women in Washington
- Increase public understanding of Washington’s role and impact in the national suffrage movement
- Increase public understanding of where Washington State is today in terms of gender equality
- Increase public understanding of long-term effects of suffrage movements in empowering and advancing women in society.
The application deadline for the first round of grant applications is December 31, 2018.
We all got out there and voted on November 6. Now, perhaps we can take a step back and commemorate the role these historical female changemakers had in extending the invaluable right to vote to all of us.
If you have questions about this or other local government issues, please use our Ask MRSC form or call us at (206) 625-1300 or (800) 933-6772. If you have comments about this blog post or other topics you would like us to write about, please email me.
MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.