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Suffrage

Jewesses for Suffrage

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting any citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex was ratified. Today, 91 years later, we take a look back at the Jewish women who dedicated their lives to women's suffrage in America and around the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list; so many Jewish women fought for suffrage, this is merely a sample of the stories we know.

How many more stories have yet to be told?

10 Things You Should Know About Gertrude Weil

Gertrude Weil was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1879. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, was among the business and civic leaders of the community. At the age of 15, she was sent to Horace Mann High School in New York City. She went on to Smith College, where, in 1901, she became the first graduate from North Carolina.

10 Things You Should Know About Pauline Newman

Born in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1890, Pauline Newman was barred from the local public school because she was Jewish. As a girl, her opportunities for a Jewish education were limited. Her father tutored well-to-do boys in Talmud; he eventually allowed her to attend Sunday classes, where she learned to read and write both Yiddish and Hebrew. The obstacles she faced in getting an education motivated her to fight for gender equality later in her life.

10 Things You Should Know About Clara Lemlich

When Clara Lemlich was growing up in the Ukraine, her religious parents did not want their daughter learning Russian, the language of an antisemitic empire. But the strong minded girl was drawn to Russia’s literary masters—Tolstoy, Gorky, and Turgenev—and to the revolutionary literature being written in Russian. She took on odd jobs—sewing buttons, teaching folk songs, writing letters for illiterate women—to pay for Russian lessons and later for books she kept hidden from her family.

10 Things You Should Know About Rose Schneiderman

Born in 1882 into a devout Jewish family in Saven, Poland, Rose Schneiderman was raised from an early age to believe she was capable of doing anything a man could do. Her parents enrolled her in a Jewish school at the age of four. Two years later, the family moved to the city of Chelm so that Rose could attend a Russian public school and receive an excellent secular education.

Birth of Judge Jennie Loitman Barron

October 13, 1891

Judge Jennie Loitman Barron, the first woman to serve on the Massachusetts Superior Court, was born.

Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage holds first mass rally

April 22, 1912

The Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage held its first major rally at New York's Cooper Union.

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addresses annual Thomas Paine dinner

January 29, 1848

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addressed the annual Thomas Paine dinner, declaring, "superstition keeps women ignorant, dependent, and enslaved beings. Knowledge will make them free."

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem

A suffragist who encouraged newly enfranchised women to go to the polls together to avoid harassment, Pauline Perlmutter Steinem was the first woman elected to the Toledo Board of Education. Her legacy of social activism can be seen in her granddaughter, Gloria Steinem.

Ernestine Rose

Ernestine Rose’s extemporaneous speeches on religious freedom, public education, abolition, and women’s rights earned her the title “Queen of the Platform.”

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Suffrage." (Viewed on October 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/suffrage>.

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