Wisconsin Women Vote

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The campaign for women’s voting rights at the national level began in July 1848 when suffragists convened in Seneca Falls, New York. Considered one of the largest reform movements in United States history, the struggle for women’s suffrage would last more than seven decades, leading to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and its successful ratification by the states on August 18, 1920. U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920.

Wisconsin played a pivotal role in this movement as the first state to officially ratify the 19th Amendment on June 10, 1919.

This summer, PBS Wisconsin joins the nation in commemorating the centennial of this landmark moment — emphasizing its complexity, contradictions and connections to historical and contemporary struggles for voting rights, equal rights, Indigenous rights, civil rights, free and fair elections, and the diverse representation of women and gender nonconforming people at all levels of government.

This page hosts a growing collection of PBS and PBS Wisconsin on-demand programming, as well as educational resources commemorating the Suffrage Centennial and the trailblazing women and allies who sacrifice and sustain wide-ranging struggles for equality and justice today.

Here and Now

Wisconsin Women Vote: A Here & Now Special

A story of firsts, from Wisconsin to Washington and back, about strong women in history and today. Frederica Freyberg sits down with Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, Rebecca Kleefisch and Jessie Rodriguez to talk about their experience representing Wisconsin. Streaming on-demand now and premiering on-air Thursday, August 13 at 7 p.m. on PBS Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Voter Stories

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Christy Clark-Pujara

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Christy Clark-Pujara

Christy Clark-Pujara feels that, as an African American woman, voting is critical.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Alejandra Muñoz Contreras

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Alejandra Muñoz Contreras

Alejandra Muñoz Contreras feels that voting allows her to be a voice for her community.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore

U.S. Representative Gwen Moore recognizes that voting represents power.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Angela Lang

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Angela Lang

Angela Lang knows that voting is just one part of a larger civic responsibility.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Sean Kendricks

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Sean Kendricks

While waiting to have his rights restored, Sean Kendricks works to register new voters.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Emily Flood

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Emily Flood

Emily Flood challenges her peers to get engaged in politics and to vote.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Toby Cohen

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Toby Cohen

Toby Cohen has voted in 19 presidential elections.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: Cate Zeuske

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: Cate Zeuske

Former State Treasurer Cate Zeuske’s grandmother voted in the first election permitted.

PBS Wisconsin Originals : Wisconsin Voter Stories: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

PBS Wisconsin Originals

Wisconsin Voter Stories: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin was raised by her grandmother who lived to see the passage of the 19th Amendment.

American Experience: The Vote

American Experience : Part 1 | The Vote | American Experience

American Experience

Part 1 | The Vote | American Experience

The fiery campaign that led to passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the vote.

American Experience : Part 2 | The Vote | American Experience

American Experience

Part 2 | The Vote | American Experience

Part Two examines the mounting dispute over strategies and reveals the pervasive racism.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

The Vote: Interactive

Celebrate the strategies and tactics of suffrage with a new interactive experience.

American Experience : The Early Suffragists

American Experience

The Early Suffragists

They united to abolish slavery and advance the rights of women in the 19th Century.

American Experience : Alice Paul: The Militant

American Experience

Alice Paul: The Militant

Alice Paul joined the 'suffragettes' while studying in London to demand the right to vote.

American Experience : Ida B Wells : The Advocate

American Experience

Ida B Wells : The Advocate

Ida B. Wells was a prominent journalist who exposed racial violence in the South.

American Experience : Carrie Chapman Catt: The Politician

American Experience

Carrie Chapman Catt: The Politician

Carrie Chapman Catt was the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

American Experience : Harriot Stanton Blatch: I Believe in Women

American Experience

Harriot Stanton Blatch: I Believe in Women

Harriot S. Blatch believed working-class women were the key to win the ballot.

American Experience : Black Suffragists

American Experience

Black Suffragists

Black women played an essential role in the suffrage movement.

PBS Summer 2020: Trailblazing Women

PBS TRAILBLAZERS

A Century of Extraordinary Women

A full slate of PBS programming and interactives honoring astonishing women.

POV : And She Could Be Next (Ep. 1)

POV

And She Could Be Next (Ep. 1)

A defiant movement led by women of color fights to transform politics from the ground up.

POV : And She Could Be Next (Ep. 2)

POV

And She Could Be Next (Ep. 2)

A defiant movement led by women of color fights to transform politics from the ground up.

AMERICAN MASTERS

Unladylike 2020

A multimedia series featuring little known, diverse female trailblazers from the turn of the 20th century.

Great Performances : Gloria: A Life

Great Performances

Gloria: A Life

Experience a unique interpretation of Gloria Steinem’s life starring Christine Lahti.

American Masters : Toni Morrison On Writing Without the ``White Gaze``

American Masters

Toni Morrison On Writing Without the ``White Gaze``

Toni Morrison talks about writing without the ``white gaze.``

Great Performances : Ann

Great Performances

Ann

Enjoy a close look at Texas governor Ann Richards in this play starring Holland Taylor.

FRONTLINE : For Sama

FRONTLINE

For Sama

An intimate yet epic journey into one young mother’s experience of the Syrian conflict.

University Place

University Place : Before and After Women’s Suffrage

University Place

Before and After Women’s Suffrage

Genevieve McBride and Christina Wolbrecht discuss barriers that kept women from voting.

University Place : How the Battle for Woman Suffrage Was Won

University Place

How the Battle for Woman Suffrage Was Won

Bob Kann shares the stories of the women who fought for their right to vote.

University Place : Suffragettes, Loyalty, and Wartime Activism

University Place

Suffragettes, Loyalty, and Wartime Activism

Ashley Barnes-Gilbert explores women’s roles and the fight for their right to vote.

University Place : The Life of Carrie Chapman Catt

University Place

The Life of Carrie Chapman Catt

Rebecca Rodriguez discusses Carrie Chapman Catt, an advocate for women’s rights.

Wisconsin Public Media News: Suffrage Centennial

Here and Now : State Marks Centennial of Being First to Ratify Women's Vote

Here and Now

State Marks Centennial of Being First to Ratify Women's Vote

100 years ago, Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

A group of suffragettes holding flower bouquets shaking the hands of dignitaries

WPR – Central Time

Women In The Suffrage Movement With Wisconsin Connections

Learn about women with Wisconsin connections who played integral roles helping women gain the right to vote.

Suffragists march in a parade in the early 20th century

WPR – THE MORNING SHOW

Women’s Suffrage And The 1918 Flu, Gender Disparities Of A Health Crisis

The 1918 flu pandemic halted the marches and rallies of the women’s suffrage movement.

photo of a hand holding a suffrage photo postcard

WPR – THE LARRY MEILLER SHOW

Votes For Women: Suffrage In The US

Learn about the beginnings of the suffrage movement and its legacy with the curator of an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Sufragettes stand in front of a vehicle

WPR – CENTRAL TIME

The Fight For Women’s Suffrage

Women won the right to vote 100 years ago. WPR talks with a historian about the path to that win.

PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour : Celebrating trailblazers for women's suffrage centennial

PBS NewsHour

Celebrating trailblazers for women's suffrage centennial

Celebrating female trailblazers for women's suffrage centennial.

PBS NewsHour : Cultural institutions celebrate women’s suffrage centennial

PBS NewsHour

Cultural institutions celebrate women’s suffrage centennial

Cultural institutions celebrate women’s suffrage centennial.

PBS NEWSHOUR

The 19th Amendment

5 things you might not know about the 19th Amendment.

PBS NEWSHOUR

Women’s Suffrage

During the 2016 presidential election hundreds of ‘I Voted’ stickers were left at Susan B. Anthony’s grave.

Exclusions and Untold Stories of Suffrage

Here and Now : Noon Wednesday: The Untold Story of Women’s Suffrage

Here and Now

Noon Wednesday: The Untold Story of Women’s Suffrage

The 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote, but not all women.

American Experience : Black Suffragists

American Experience

Black Suffragists

Black women played an essential role in the suffrage movement.

Black and White women suffragists post together in a group

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE VOTE

Black Women’s 200 Year Fight for the Vote

For two centuries, black women have linked their ballot access to the human rights of all.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE VOTE

Overcoming Barriers for Native American Voters

The action, and promise, behind Native American representation in the U.S.

WOMEN’S VOTE 100

How Native American Women Inspired the Women’s Rights Movement

This model of Native women’s rights gave suffragists a vision of something better.

MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE

5 You Should Know: African American Suffragists

The women’s suffrage movement had many African American heroines.

TURNING POINT SUFFRAGIST MEMORIAL

African American Women Leaders in the Suffrage Movement

An annotated list of African American women leaders in the American women’s suffrage movement.

University Place : Black Suffrage in Early Wisconsin

University Place

Black Suffrage in Early Wisconsin

Christy Clark-Pujara focuses on the disenfranchisement of black males in early Wisconsin.

WISCONTEXT

Wisconsin’s Halting Path Toward Black Suffrage

Understanding the history of black suffrage in Wisconsin requires unpacking the little-discussed role of slavery in the Upper Midwest.

Wisconsin Suffragists

Portrait of Olympia Brown, Wisconsin suffragist

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Olympia Brown

Olympia Brown was the first woman to be ordained a minister in the U.S. and was president of Wisconsin’s Woman Suffrage Association for 28 years.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Carrie Chapman Catt

Women’s suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt was crucially important in getting the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Ada James

Ada James was a Wisconsin suffragist leader who worked for women’s rights and other reforms in the early 20th century.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Clara Bewick Colby

Clara Bewick Colby, a prominent suffragist, orator, and journalist, started a newspaper called the Woman’s Tribune.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Zona Gale

In 1921, American author and playwright Zona Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for the play Miss Lulu Bett.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Jessie Jack Hooper

Jessie Jack Hooper, a suffragist, was president of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters and also ran for the U.S. Senate in 1922.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Belle Case La Follette

Belle Case La Follette was the first woman to graduate from law school in Wisconsin and an outspoken advocate for women’s right to vote.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Lutie Eugenia Stearns

Lutie Stearns, “the Johnny Appleseed of books,” started free libraries all over Wisconsin and was an outspoken advocate for social justice.

WISCONSIN WOMEN MAKING HISTORY

Laura Ross Wolcott

Laura Ross Wolcott was the first woman physician in Wisconsin and was active in the women’s suffrage movement.

PBS Wisconsin Education and PBS Learning Media

WISCONSIN BIOGRAPHIES

Belle Case La Follette

An educator resource to teach about Belle La Follette, a Wisconsin women’s suffrage and civil rights activist.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Teaching Women’s Suffrage

This collection details key figures, events, and regional movements of the fight to win the right to vote for women.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Primary Source: 19th Amendment

Educators can teach about the 19th Amendment using these primary sources.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Library of Congress Media Gallery

A LOC media gallery for educators to teach the history of women’s suffrage.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

We the Voters

PBS Education partnered with We The Voters, a nonpartisan digital project featuring short films to activate voters across the country.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Let’s Talk About Election 2020

Middle and high school educators across the U.S. are empowering students to share their take on issues that matter to them.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Election Collection

Resources to help students study the history and process of presidential elections, explore voting rights, and engage in classroom debates.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA

Local Election Toolkit

Resources for engaging in local elections — from identifying issues that matter to connecting with local officials.

WisContext

Statue of "Lady Forward"

WISCONTEXT

Women in Wisconsin’s Democracy

Women’s struggle for representation in government continues in the 21st century.

A sandwich board sign that says "Vote Here" with an American flag above it

WISCONTEXT

Voter ID in Wisconsin

Over the past 15 years, voting has become increasingly difficult for some Wisconsinites.

WISCONTEXT

Gerrymandering, Wisconsin and the Courts

An in-depth series on partisan legislative redistricting in Wisconsin.

The Equal Rights Amendment

American Experience : From Women’s Suffrage to the ERA

American Experience

From Women’s Suffrage to the ERA

Is the U.S. at a tipping point in the nearly 100-year-long fight to ratify the ERA?

PBS NewsHour : After Va. ratifies ERA, what 'procedural hurdles' remain?

PBS NewsHour

After Va. ratifies ERA, what 'procedural hurdles' remain?

With Virginia ratification, where does the Equal Rights Amendment go from here?

PBS NewsHour : News Wrap: Virginia becomes 38th state to ratify ERA

PBS NewsHour

News Wrap: Virginia becomes 38th state to ratify ERA

News Wrap: Virginia becomes 38th state to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

PBS NewsHour : 40 years later, the ERA is still not part of Constitution

PBS NewsHour

40 years later, the ERA is still not part of Constitution

Forty years later, the ERA is still not a part of the Constitution

NATIONAL RESOURCES TO CELEBRATE THE SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL COMMISSION

Women’s Vote 100

In April 2017, Congress passed legislation to create the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (S.847).

SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence

An exhibit honoring the more than 80-year movement for women to obtain the right to vote as part of the larger struggle for equality.

2020 WOMEN’S VOTE CENTENNIAL INITIATIVE

2020 WVCI

A collaboration of partners across the US ensuring the fight to achieve suffrage is commemorated.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Women of Protest

Photographs from the records of the National Woman’s Party depicting their push for ratification of the 19th Amendment.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Shall Not Be Denied

A LOC exhibit on the campaign for women’s voting rights lasting more than seven decades.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES MUSEUM

Rightfully Hers

An online exhibit on the struggle of diverse activists to secure voting rights for all American women.

NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE

Wisconsin and the 19th Amendment

A brief NPS essay about Wisconsin’s role in the fight for women’s suffrage.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM

Timeline: Women’s Suffrage

A digital and visual timeline of the long march to achieve women’s suffrage.

NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE

Overview of Women’s Suffrage

A NPS essay series on the legacy of the 19th Amendment.

WISCONSIN RESOURCES TO CELEBRATE THE SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL

OFFICE OF THE GENDER & WOMEN’S STUDIES LIBRARIAN

Centennial of Wisconsin’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment

A bibliography compiled by UW-Madison librarians for further research on Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.

WOMEN VOTE WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Suffrage Centennial

On April 11, 2019, Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order 19​ creating the Committee to Celebrate the Centennial of Wisconsin’s Ratificati​on of the 19th Amendment.

OFFICE OF THE GENDER & WOMEN’S STUDIES LIBRARIAN

Black Women’s Suffrage in Wisconsin

An evolving bibliography for researching the history of Black women’s suffrage in Wisconsin.

OFFICE OF THE GENDER & WOMEN’S STUDIES LIBRARIAN

Wisconsin Suffragists

A list of Wisconsin women suffragists maintained by the UW-Madison libraries.

WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration Toolkit

A comprehensive historical guide published by WHS for Wisconsin’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration.

OFFICE OF THE GENDER & WOMEN’S STUDIES LIBRARIAN

Timeline of Wisconsin Women’s Suffrage

A historical timeline of Wisconsin’s suffrage story compiled by UW-Madison librarians.