She “led an army of voteless women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920” and “was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women.”
“Shall we play the coward, then,” she asked her 1916 audience, “and leave the hard knocks for our daughters, or shall we throw ourselves into the fray, bare our own shoulders to the blows, and thus bequeath to them a politically liberated womanhood?”
When we read history, we realize that the fifty percent of the voters in modern democratic election system have not been able to vote not long ago. The voting right has been fought and won by some brave hearts. Even in America, not long ago really.
As a child, Carrie was interested in science and wanted to become a doctor. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in Ames, Iowa. Carrie’s father was initially reluctant to allow her to attend college, but he relented, contributing only a part of the costs. To make ends meet, Carrie worked as a dishwasher, in the school library, and as a teacher at rural schools during school breaks.Catt’s freshman class consisted of 27 students; six of whom were female. Carrie joined the Crescent Literary Society, a student organization aimed at advancing student learning skills and self-confidence. Because only men were allowed to speak in meetings, Carrie defied the rules and spoke up during a male debate. This started a discussion about women’s participation in the group, and ultimately led to women gaining the right to speak in meetings.After three years, Carrie graduated on November 10, 1880 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She was the valedictorian and only female in her graduating class. She worked as a law clerk after graduating then she became a teacher and then superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa in 1885. She was the first female superintendent of the district. In February 1885, Carrie married newspaper editor Leo Chapman, but he died in California in August 1886, soon after of typhoid fever. She remained in San Francisco where she worked as the city’s first female reporter. In 1890, she married George Catt, a wealthy engineer and Alumnus of Iowa State University. He encouraged her being involved in suffrage.After her husbands death in 1905, Carrie spent much of the following eight years as IWSA president promoting equal-suffrage rights worldwide. After she retired from NAWSA, she continued to help women around the world to gain the right to vote.
She believed that the political decisions being made should involve the views of the citizens rather than the views of politicians. This was the greatest challenge that Carrie had to face. Not only was it a struggle to get her own name in the public and for others to look at her as a leader or role model but it was a struggle to get majority of the male population on her side. Most males during this time stuck to their strong views on women and no one, especially a female, was going to change that.
Timeline of women’s suffrage in the United States: 1777: Women lose the right to vote in New York. 1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating, “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.
Carrie Chapman Catt (January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947) was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women.
(The above excerpts are taken from various internet sources.)
Genesis 1:27 New Living Translation (NLT)
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
- 1:27 Or the man; Hebrew reads ha-adam.