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Charlotte Talks: 100 Years Since Women Gained The Right To Vote

LIbrary of Congress
Woman suffrage in Wyoming territory. Scene at the polls in Cheyenne.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The United States granted women the right to vote 100 years ago. We look back on the ratification of the 19th Amendment to understand what progress has been made and what challenges remain.

As in most movements for civil rights, there was significant pushback. A 1900’s anti-suffrage pamphlet suggested women should not have the right to vote because “90 percent do not want it, or do not care,” that “more voting women than voting men will place the government under petticoat rule,” and “it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.”

Even after the amendment was written into law, many women of color faced poll taxes and literacy tests, some of which had unsolvable questions, such as “How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” Only decades later, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, did these discriminatory practices become illegal.

Voter discrimination has found modern techniques, however, as a voter ID law in North Carolina was blocked by a judge over accusations of racial discrimination earlier this year.

One hundred years after women were granted the right to vote in America, we talk with a panel of experts to explore the history of the women’s suffrage movement and where we stand today.


Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, assistant professor of history at Winthrop University

Jo Nicholas, president of League of Women Voters of North Carolina

Kristi Graunke, ACLU of North Carolina legal director

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.