1930 August 24

Carrie Chapman Catt, Suffrage Leader, Reflects on First Ten Years of Women Voting

 

Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader of the women’s suffrage movement as former President of the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and then founder of the League of Women Voters, in an essay published in the New York Times on this day, reflected on the first decade of women’s suffrage. (1920-1930).

She summed up the situation by stating that “Woman suffrage has come to stay.” And she quickly added that it was still too soon make a definitive judgment on how women’s suffrage has changed the U.S. In fact, Catt was hard pressed to identify any major changes.

As leader of NAWSA, Catt had been a moderate suffrage advocate, who rejected the militant actions of Alice Paul between 1913 and 1920, which many observers regard as the catalyst that brought about the Nineteenth Amendment.

Indeed, reflecting on the future, Catt struck a conservative note in discussing the need for women to prepare themselves for leadership roles: “Women have a long way to go before being well enough qualified with self-reliance and initiative to take places on a basis of equality with men.”

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