League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley comment on Wisconsin milestone

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Monday, Wisconsin celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment.

Margaret Hagaman and Ellen Ochs of the LWV Greater Chippewa Valley reflect on Wisconsin milestone.

Wisconsin became the first state to ratify the amendment in 1919 on its way to gaining support from 36 states in August of 1920 which made it a law that women had the right to vote.

The amendment had lots of opposition upon its proposal. Vice-President of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Ellen Ochs, reflected on this opposition.

“There was a lot of opposition to it”, said Ochs. “Some of the women, who were part of the women’s suffrage movement, were also very active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In various states, the alcohol industry did a lot to block the proposed amendment to keep women from voting.”

Ochs also reflected on the long struggle and the movement that changed American culture forever.

"I'm aware that it was defeated a number of times in Wisconsin before its acceptance”, said Ochs. “It is hard to make people rethink how they understand the culture they live in. These were big changes that people were being asked to consider, so it took 70 years, it was a long campaign."

LWV of the Greater Chippewa Valley President, Margaret Hagaman, applauded the work of the women that participated in the suffrage movement, especially Susan B. Anthony.

“Susan B. Anthony actually came to Wisconsin while fighting for women’s right to vote”, said Hagaman. “Unfortunately, she died 14 years before the law was passed, so she was never able to vote.”

The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, but universal voting rights were not passed until 1965. At this time, any citizen could vote regardless of their gender or race.

For more information on the history of women’s suffrage in Wisconsin or to get involved with the LWV of the Greater Chippewa Valley, visit www.lwv-gcv.org. You can also find them on Facebook.