This August marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification and adoption of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to American women nationwide. Though full suffrage for all women, specifically women of color, would continue to be denied for many more decades through discriminatory legislation, political machinations, and domestic terrorism, the passage of the 19th Amendment was a watershed moment and an initial step on the continuing path towards women’s full political empowerment.
When the 19th Amendment was ratified, there had only been one woman who had ever served in Congress. Today, there are 127. There has been a century of progress for women in American political life, but, as those 127 women comprise but 23.7% of all members of Congress, there is much more progress yet to come. Since its founding in 1971, the Center for American Women and Politics has developed unparalleled data collection, research, programs, and analysis, devoting itself to the cause of women’s political empowerment for nearly half of the suffrage century.
We look forward to the next 100 years.
Here CAWP brings you resources to understand and explain this moment in American history through the prism of the past, present, and future of women’s political representation.
CAWP Resources: Women’s Political History
- The CAWP Women Elected Officials Database. This first-of-its-kind database expands on CAWP’s data collection of women officeholders throughout American history, including current officeholders, and transforms it into a publicly accessible online database. Search by metrics including state, party affiliation, specific timeframes, levels of office, and race and ethnicity data, and use your search results to create data visualizations or export the data in multiple formats. Every woman in American history to serve at the state legislative, statewide elected executive, and federal levels is included— more than 11,000 women throughout history.
- Past Candidate and Election Information. Watch the story of women candidates for office at the state legislative, statewide elected executive, and congressional levels unfold over time from 1990 to the present with CAWP’s election-year Candidate Summaries. These summaries are newly revamped to include interactive data visualizations and provide direct access to CAWP’s historical candidate databases.
- Teach a Girl to Lead® Programs and Places Map. Our Teach a Girl to Lead® (TAG) project provides tools and resources to help young people rethink leadership and make women’s political leadership visible to America’s youth. TAG’s Programs and Places Map provides a state-by-state guide to historic sites, museums, and other cultural institutions that tell the story of women’s political history, as well as programs in every state where girls can learn about leadership.
- History of Women of Color in U.S. Politics. Get information about women of color throughout history who have served in Congress, statewide elected executive office, state legislatures, state legislative leadership, and as mayors of the nation’s 100 largest cities.
- 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage. Learn more about the expansion of voting rights over time in the decades following the 19th Amendment that broadened access to the vote for women in racial, ethnic, and language minority communities. Also find research and data about the history of suffrage and women voters, including teaching materials, activities, and books on women’s suffrage for students of all ages from Teach a Girl to Lead®.
- Milestones for Women in American Politics. Learn about history-making firsts for women in American politics at various levels of office and breakthroughs for women of color.
CAWP Resources: This Moment.
- Election Watch. Get complete numbers on the women running for office at the congressional, statewide elected executive, and state legislative levels in 2020, with data visualizations and historical context, at our Election Watch Candidate Summary. Also available at CAWP’s Election Watch: full lists of women candidates for congressional and statewide races, data on women as a percentage of all major-party candidates and nominees for U.S. House, analysis from CAWP scholars and experts, and more.
- Current Numbers. Find the most up-to-date information on women’s representation in Congress, statewide elected executive positions, state legislatures, and select local offices. Discover how your state fares with women’s representation in our state-by-state information, including CAWP’s state rankings by women’s representation in state legislatures.
- Women of Color in Elective Office 2020. Find information specific to women of color and their current representation in Congress, state legislatures, state legislative leadership, statewide elected executive offices, and selected mayoralties. See also our most recent report with Higher Heights for America, Black Women in American Politics 2019.
- Voters. Explore data and analysis about women voters, including gender differences in partisan preference, vote choice, and voter turnout.
CAWP Resources: Into the Next Century
Women’s Political Power Map. At this interactive map, find organizations and programs doing the work of expanding the horizons of the 19th Amendment and fulfilling its promise. The Women’s Political Power Map offers state-by-state information to help you find programs devoted to women’s political equality nationwide and in your own community, including CAWP’s own national networks for campaign training, Ready to Run®, and young women’s political engagement, NEW Leadership®.