Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders

Women and the Trade Union Movement

At the beginning of the 20th century, the working-class women’s movement became more connected to the suffrage movement. During this time period, women workers initiated many important strikes. In 1909-1910, over 20,000 shirtwaist workers struck in New York and Philadelphia, in what was called the “Rising of 20,000.” They were supported by the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), an organization which united working-class women and middle- and upper- class women in an effort to win the vote, and secure better wages and working conditions for women.

In 1906, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s daughter, founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later the Women’s Political Union) to organize working-class suffragists, primarily in New York City. In 1910, they organized the first large-scale suffrage march in the United States, in New York City. Eventually, the Women's Political Union began working with the National Woman's Party, the new radical wing of the woman suffrage movement.

Vote Tent
Women's Political Union Suffrage Tent, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-DIG-ppmsca-02921)

Campaign Using Umbrellas
Members of the Women's Political Union advertise a march using umbrellas,
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Women's Political Union Broadside
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Newspaper published by the Women's Political Union
Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collection Division,
NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection

Workingwoman letter to NY Times
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Letter to the New York Times from a "workingwoman" suffragist,
Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collection Division,
NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection

Leaders: Harriot Stanton Blatch, Maud Younger, Rose Schneiderman

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