August 26, 2023

Presented by WET’s Diversity & Inclusion Education Committee

Learn What Susan B. Anthony Did

Discover More About Jeanette Rankin

Find Out How These Two Women Were Instrumental in Getting the 1965 Voting Rights Act Passed

Fannie Lou Hamer  |  Diane Nash

Make History Come to Life by Reading a Historical Fiction Book Centered on the Women’s Suffrage

(From 4 Historical Fiction Books Celebrating Women’s Voting Rights Article)

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Stories from Suffragette City edited by M.J. Rose and Fiona Davis

August 26, designated in 1971 by congress to celebrate the day in 1920 on which the 19th amendment of the constitution was ratified, is Women’s Equality Day!

This milestone came after a lengthy struggle, which started in the mid 19th century. By the time the 19th Amendment passed the US House and Senate, thirty-six states, including Montana, had already ratified the amendment.

As of 1887, women in Montana were given the right to vote in school board elections and on tax issues. By January 1913, a women’s suffrage bill had passed the Montana Legislature and went out as a referendum and suffragists launched an all-out campaign leading up to the vote. They traveled throughout Montana giving speeches and holding rallies. They sent out thousands of letters and printed thousands of pamphlets and journals to hand out. Suffragists set up booths at the Montana State Fair and they held parades. Finally, on November 3, 1914, Montana became one of eleven states with equal suffrage for most women. In November 1916, four years before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress.

Although white women were able to vote in 1920, African American women had to wait many more years. It took them until after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act before they were able to cast their first ballot.