Smart Talk Thursday; Women in elected office after the 19th Amendment

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The fight for women’s suffrage was a decades-long battle that took more than 70 years to win.

Women representation in elected office didn’t happen quickly after the passage, particularly at the national level. An entirely male Congress passed the 19th Amendment, but 50 years later there were still only one female senator and ten representatives. Today in 2020, only a quarter of the legislature is comprised of women.

What happened in Pennsylvania after the ratification? Did women take advantage of this new right to run for elected office to represent voters? For the women who did seek office, how were they received by the electorate and once in office, did their gender help or hinder their role?

Pennsylvania and the nation are now preparing for the 2020 general election, which features the first-ever black woman on a Presidential ticket. Smart Talk Thursday will focus on the role of women as voters and in elected office over the past 100 years. Joining the conversation are Dr. Curtis Miner, Ph.D., senior history curator at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Dana Brown, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, retired Republican state Senator Pat Vance of Cumberland County and Democratic state Representative Patty Kim of Dauphin County.

After Suffrage, Pennsylvania’s Inaugural Class of Women Legislators, by Dr. Curtis Miner, is available here.