This story was published in the Aug. 26, 1921, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.
New York, Aug. 25. — Representative women leaders in political organizations here expressed gratification today over the achievements of the women of the United States during the first year of the national enfranchisement. The 19th amendment to the constitution was officially proclaimed August 26, 1920.
All agreed that during the year women voters everywhere had begun slowly but surely to find their place in the political councils and organizations of the parties. An awakened political consciousness among both men and women and a new dignity in political affairs generally were among the things accomplished by women in that short time, they said.
Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt of the national league of women voters and the national American woman suffrage association said that women have begun to find their place in the management of the affairs of the two dominant political parties of the country.
“While our progress in that direction has not been complete,” she said, “we believe that we have accomplished much in that direction. Many women have been somewhat discouraged by the treatment they have received from the professional men politicians in their localities. While women have not been granted political equality and opportunity to take their proper place in the political life of their communities in about half the states, they have been received with sympathy and understanding and accorded full equality in the political organizations in the rest. The women who are more experienced in political matters, especially those who were engaged in suffrage work before national enfranchisement, find nothing discouraging in the situation.”
Helen Varick Boswell, vice president of the republican county committee of New York, said that the rapidity and ease with which women have become absorbed in the political side of life since the passage of the 19th amendment had caused amazement among the men and satisfaction among the women. In New York state, the women became organized into the parties within a few weeks of the actual granting of suffrage.
“The benefit to the country and to women has been great. We feel an assurance, a poise, a security in being a real citizen, with all the functions of helping to create and to maintain better government as our equipment in the political field.”
Mrs. Lillian R. Sire, president of the woman’s democratic political league, said that the biggest achievement of the year has been the educating of women and men to a new political consciousness.
“The work of introducing woman’s ideals into our political affairs is necessarily slow,” she said, “but we are making progress every day, and a higher standard of conduct in politics and public affairs is being set up.
“We have learned that most of the political leaders are not sincere with us. They will have to learn to take women into their confidence with them more on political problems of every nature in order to get their point of view which is of value.
“We have not found them to be grateful either. We are given house-to-house canvassing, for which we are well fitted, and other political drudgery to do, but so far there has been no sharing of other political responsibilities. Afte r we have been of service a nd benefit to them, they try to avoid us for fear we will expect them to return the favor in kind.”
Mary Garrett Hay, chairman of the Now York City league of women voters, said that it was generally conceded that the presence of women at the polls has brought order and dignity.
“Women have started a movement for better candidates,” she said. “The public is hardly aware of this as yet, but women are throughout the country holding meetings, getting records, distributing questionnaires and preaching the need for more ability and more honesty in public office.
“They have made a persistent effort to educate the electorate through citizenship schools and courses and through the distribution of candidates’ records and opinions.
“If American women continue as they have started, they will, in a few years, bring about some startling changes in legislation, election methods and political standards, and they will accomplish this in a quiet and unostentatious fashion.”