Women Voters

"Votes for Women" streamer, Melville Otter Briney papers, c. 1915

"Votes for Women" streamer, Melville Otter Briney papers, c. 1915.

The fight for women's suffrage across the country was a decades-long battle. Through the efforts of suffragists from all walks of life, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote in the United States.

The 1920 presidential election, between Warren G. Harding and James Cox, was the first in which women had the right to vote in all 48 states. That year the popular vote increased from 18.5 million in 1916 to 26.8 million in 1920.

In Kentucky the difference was even starker. 918,708 votes were cast in the 1920 election, compared to just 520,078 in 1916. Harding lost Kentucky by 0.44%, the narrowest margin of any state, demonstrating the difference just one group of motivated voters can make when their rights are fully realized.

Explore our online exhibit documenting the suffrage movement through the work of local women: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE: THE MOVEMENT IN LOUISVILLE.

Suffrage meeting, c. 1920

Unidentified group of women outside either a suffrage meeting or a voting place, c. 1920.