Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Amendment XIX, August 26, 1920

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote. The 19th Amendment guaranteed women a place in the U.S. Constitution for the first time and caused the largest single expansion of voting rights in our nation’s history.  The centennial of the 19th Amendment offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate this milestone of democracy and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today.

96-2806 Votes for Women pennant 1980.0606.160

Image credit: Division of Political History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

The Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI) is a collaborative effort created to share information and stimulate activities around the country in the years leading up to 2020. It is run by a volunteer Task Force, composed of a broad range of individuals who collectively represent the various segments of the historical women’s suffrage movement, contemporary women’s organizations, and scholars.

The purpose of the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI) is to ensure that the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment is celebrated and commemorated throughout the United States in ways that:

  • include the influence and stories of the various components of the suffrage movement in ways that reflect the accuracy of the historical record
  • recognize the legal and social advances resulting from the 19th Amendment
  • acknowledge the inadequacies of the Amendment’s implementation
  • describe its continuing relevance to the ongoing struggle for equal rights
  • encourage involvement in large and small activities at all levels by diverse public, nonprofit, and private organizations and individuals

The Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative will: 

  • Serve as a central organizing and information-sharing entity
  • Encourage schools and campuses, community organizations, government entities, and other groups and individuals to undertake commemoration activities beginning in 2016 and culminating in the 2020 centennial year
  • Act as a clearinghouse for information about activities and planning initiatives through a website, a listserv, and other means of communication
  • Play a lead, collaborative role in planning national commemoration activities for 2020

Image credit: Division of Political History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

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