2015 Women's History Month

Women’s History Month takes place each year during the month of March. This idea has traced back to 1911, when the first International Women’s Day took place. Women’s History Month is a recognition of the fights women have made for equality and the celebration of their accomplishments and contributions to society. Ever since 1995, United States Presidents have made a declaration each year to recognize the month of March as Women’s History Month.

Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Timeline:

1850: The first National Woman’s Rights Convention took place in Worcester, MA

1851: The second National Woman’s Rights Convention took place in Worcester, MA

1869: The Woman Suffrage movement split off from their alliance with the Equal Rights Association over the issue of voting rights for African American men. The American Woman Suffrage Movement (AWSA) was formed and Massachusetts members created the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA).

1879: Massachusetts Women were granted the right to vote in school committee elections

1882: The Massachusetts Anti-Suffrage movement began with the founding of the Massachusetts Association Opposed to Further Extension of Suffrage to Women (MAOFESW). This organization was founded and led by women.

1911: The anti-suffrage movement became so popular that there was a National Anti-Woman Suffrage Association

1915: The Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association claimed 58,000 members

1915: Massachusetts placed a referendum on the ballot to allow women the right to vote

1915, October: Prior to this vote, the MWSA held a parade in support of the ballot referendum, which would remove the word “male” from the voting rights regulations. The parade route began on Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street, moved through the city through the public garden, the Boston Common and the State House, before ending at Mechanics Hall, where a pro-suffrage rally was held.

1915, November 2: The vote for woman’s suffrage in Massachusetts failed with 35.5% of the men voting “yes” and 64.5% voting “no.”

1915, November 16: Massachusetts Suffrage Activists decided to focus their efforts on supporting the national campaign to amend the federal constitution in support of woman suffrage.

1919: Women gained the right to vote federally with the passing of the 19th Amendment. Massachusetts was the 8th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on June 25, 1919.

1923: Massachusetts elected the first women to the state legislature: Sylvia Donaldson (R-Brockton) and Susan Fitzgerald (D-Jamaica Plain)

2015: Fifty women serve in the Massachusetts Legislature, making up only 25% of the legislative population

Written and researched by Caucus Intern Samantha Shapiro