National Woman's Party

From Ohio History Central

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of women's organizations advocated women's rights, including the right to vote. Among those groups was the National Women's Party. This organization traced its roots to the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Alice Paul and a number of other women founded the National Women's Party, originally known as the Congressional Union, in 1913. Paul and her supporters believed that women needed to be more militant in their demands for equal rights. Most of its members were young, white women from the middle and upper classes. They made newspaper headlines and challenged traditional views of women's roles by forming picket lines near the White House, being arrested by the police, and going on hunger strikes while in prison.

With the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, American women gained the right to vote. Having achieved its first goal, the National Women's Party began lobbying for another amendment to the Constitution, which became known as the Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment would have guaranteed equal treatment of women under the law. Most women's groups did not support the National Women's Party's agenda, as they were afraid that the Equal Rights Amendment would remove legislation that protected women in the workplace. Because of its radical stance, the group's membership remained small in the decades that followed. Although still small, the National Women's Party still exists today. Its headquarters are located in Washington, DC.

In Ohio, branches of the National Women's Party were instrumental in defeating the passage of the Dunn Bill. Its members, along with the League of Women Voters and the Ohio Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, were vocal in their opposition to the proposed legislation. The Dunn Bill, named after state representative Pat Dunn, would have prohibited the state government from employing married women. Ultimately, the Dunn Bill was not passed.

In 1997, National Women's Party began focusing its efforts on educating the public about the women's rights movement. Today the organization operates the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, in Washington, D.C., an archives, library and museum that document the story of the women's struggles to attain equal rights in the United States.

See Also


  1. Ford, Linda G. Iron-Jawed Angels. N.p.: University Press of America, 2002.
  2. Lunardini, Christine A. From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights: Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1910-1928. N.p.: iUniverse, 2000.