19TH AMENDMENT: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE
Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. In August of 1920, Tennessee's became the 36th state to ratify women's suffrage, and it became our nation's 19th amendment.
Women's suffrage (also known as female suffrage, woman suffrage or women's right to vote) is the right of women to vote in elections; a person who advocates the extension of suffrage, particularly to women, is called a suffragist. Limited voting rights were gained by women in Finland, Iceland, Sweden and some Australian colonies and western U.S. states in the late 19th century. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904, Berlin, Germany), and also worked for equal civil rights for women
In 1881, the Isle of Man gave women who owned property the right to vote. In 1893, the British colony of New Zealand granted women the right to vote. The colony of South Australia did the same in 1894 and women were able to vote in the next election, which was held in 1895. South Australia also permitted women to stand for election alongside men. In 1899 Western Australia enacted full women's suffrage, enabling women to vote in the constitutional referendum of 31 July 1900 and the 1901 state and federal elections. In 1902 women in the remaining four colonies also acquired the right to vote and stand in federal elections after the six Australian colonies federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia. Discriminatory restrictions against Aboriginal people, including women, voting in national elections, were not completely removed until 1962
The first European country to introduce women's suffrage was the Grand Duchy of Finland, then part of the Russian Empire, which elected the world's first women Members of Parliament in the 1907 parliamentary elections. Norway followed, granting full women's suffrage in 1913. Denmark followed in 1915, and the Soviet Union followed in 1917.Most independent countries enacted women's suffrage in the interwar era, including Canada in 1917, Britain (over 30 in 1918, over 21 in 1928), Germany, Poland in 1918, Austria and the Netherlands in 1919, and the United States in 1920 (Voting Rights Act of 1965 secured voting rights for racial minorities). Leslie Hume argues that the First World War changed the popular mood
The women's contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women's physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote. If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the polling booth. But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women's participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women's entry into the public arena.