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Women's Suffrage

Posted on March 05 2023

Women's Suffrage


Dear Educator,

When the United States was founded, not every citizen had the right to vote. Women were excluded, as were African Americans. The term suffrage means “the right to vote.”  Women’s rights movements began even before the Civil War. Activists gathered at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, to plan how to address women’s suffrage. The Civil War actually disrupted women’s efforts at full citizenship rights. Black men were guaranteed the right to vote through the Fifteenth Amendment. Women did not gain the right to vote until 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. This week, Maps101 looks at women’s suffrage for Women’s History Month, given that voting rights are essential to influencing the direction of the government. Without voting rights, people are powerless.
Start this topic by projecting the map on the board as a Bellringer, to introduce the topic as students enter the classroom. The map title gives students a clue to what the map is about. Help them increase their mapping skills by pointing out the map key and how it is used in this map. Return to this map after students have learned more about the topic. They should then be able to analyze the data on the map.

Then, have students watch this 5-minute-long video to further familiarize them with what the women’s suffrage movement was. The video explores the meaning of the term suffrage, and the women, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who were early leaders in the movement to secure women’s right to vote. You can project the video on the board or use it on tablets for individual or group viewing.  Students can also read the script and use it to take notes.


After watching the video, or instead of, students can delve further into the topic by reading our exclusive Geography News Network article on women’s suffrage.  The article focuses on the lead-up to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Students will have further information about the suffrage movement’s founders, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, as well as on other women’s groups that were formed to promote women’s rights. The article reminds students that although the Nineteenth Amendment provided voting rights to women, it only pertained to white women. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Black women were assured their voting rights.


The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed women the right to vote. This was the goal of the women’s suffrage movement. To include a complete lesson on the topic in your curriculum, look no further than this Lesson Map. It answers these essential questions: What is women’s suffrage? What grievances did women have? Who was Ida B. Wells? Why were parades important in the suffrage movement? Who opposed suffrage and why? And, use the accompanying teacher edition for numerous suggestions to engage students of all levels for each subhead.


In 2020, the Nineteenth Amendment marked one hundred years since its passing. This article explores voting rights around the world, the modern influence of women voters, and why women’s suffrage was opposed. This article is an excellent accompaniment to extend the Lesson Map above, or, if you are short on time, you can use this article instead.


This is a small sample of the kind of content available to you with your Maps101 subscription. Every week, the editors at Maps101 will provide you with highlights from our extensive collection in this GeoJournal newsletter. We suggest you make a folder to store them for future reference. Expand your students’ world with Maps101!

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