20 Suffragette Memes Remind Us How Hard We’ve Fought For A Woman On The Ballot

Votes for women! 🗳🇺🇸
A 1912 color illustration of a girl wearing a yellow banner which has "Votes for Wimmen."
A 1912 color illustration of a girl wearing a yellow banner which has "Votes for Wimmen."
Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images

History has already been made this election season with a woman on the ticket of a major political party. But what about the history ― or herstory ― that’s gotten our country to this seminal point?

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment, which granted universal suffrage, was ratified. In some states, however, many women of color weren’t able to vote until the 1960s, partially due to voter registration restrictions put in place to deny voting rights to people of color.

That means that for 133 years, women didn’t have the right to vote and many of them spent most of those years fighting tooth and nail for it.

In the U.S., the suffrage movement began in the late 1840s when women’s rights advocates began organizing on a national level. Early organizers included suffragettes like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony.

The American suffragettes took many cues from the suffrage sister movement in the U.K., organizing marches and using propaganda such as pro-suffrage pamphlets and comics. The British suffragettes deviated slightly from the Americans as they were known for their outspoken and militant-style protests, which often included smashing windows and destroying public property with arson and homemade bombs.

To honor the hard work of the suffragettes and the many women who came before us, we’ve rounded up 22 vintage images of women fighting for the right to vote. The images include pro-suffrage propaganda and call-to-action illustrations from both the American and British suffrage movements.

Scroll below to learn some suffragette herstory.

1893: "Universal Suffrage"
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Universal suffrage (also known as the general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of the right to vote to all adults, without distinction as to race, sex, belief, intelligence, or economic or social status.
1897: "Lucretia Mott"
Lucretia Mott was an American women's rights activist and a social reformer. The image features a quote from Mott: "Let women then go on, not asking favors, but claiming as right, the removal of all hindrances to her elevation in the scale of being."
1905: "Torturing Women In Prison"
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A suffragette poster shows artificial feeding of suffragettes in prison.
1907: "Polling Booth"
A woman in a graduation cap and gown stands next to a man dressed like a "convict." Below the illustration it reads: "Companions in Disgrace," because convicts were also not allowed to vote.
1908: "Manifestations Des Suffragettes"
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An illustration of English suffragettes Edith New and Mary Leigh being carried triumphantly through London streets after being released from Holloway Prison on August 22, 1908. Published in Le Petit Journal in Paris on September 6, 1908.
1909: "Votes And Violence"
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A cartoon by William Kerridge Haselden published in London's Daily Mirror newspaper, July 2, 1909.
1909: "Votes For Women"
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A suffragette poster created by Hilda Dallas who was a member of the WSPU. She studied at the Slade School of Art from 1910 to 1911 and was responsible for a number of suffragette designs.
1910: "Equal Suffrage"
A postcard from the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), which was formed in May 1890 when the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association combined forces.
1910-1919: "To My Valentine"
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A young girl wears a suffragette banner with the caption: "To my Valentine; Love me, love my Vote."
1910-1913: "Conductorette"
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A World War I caricature of a female bus conductor helping British politician Lord Asquith onto a bus. Asquith changed his position on women's franchise because of women's war effort. "Come along, sir. Better late than never," the caption reads.
1912: "I May Be Your Leader Some Day"
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A color illustration of a girl wearing a yellow banner which has "Votes for Wimmen" written on it as she expresses the campaign to another boy.
1912: "Suffragettes Demonstrate"
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Suffragettes demonstrate for the right to vote in London, England. Illustration published in Le Pelerin on March 17, 1912.
1913: "Forcible Feeding"
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An illustration depicting force feeding as torture, published in The Suffragette magazine on March 28, 1913. The magazine was edited by Christabel Pankhurst and published by the Women's Social and Political Union in England.
1913: "National American Women's Suffrage Association"
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A leaflet for the National American Women's Suffrage Associate that features a woman on horse riding towards the White House with a "Votes for Women" flag.
1915: "The Awakening"
This illustration shows a torch-bearing woman labeled "Votes for Women." The woman is walking across western states, where women already had the right to vote, toward the east where women are reaching out to her. Women in California, Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota and a few other Western states had full voting rights before the 19th Amendment. Printed below the cartoon is a poem by Alice Duer Miller.
1915: "Suffrage Kewpies"
An illustration shows infant dolls also known as "Kewpies." One is holding a banner that states "Votes for Our Mothers," and an infant sitting on the right, crying "I'm a girl baby and I'm going to be taxed without representation."
1917: "American Suffragette"
Wade Mountfortt Jr/Archive Photos/Getty Images
An American suffragette carries a U.S. flag attached to a broom handle.
1917: "Revised"
A cartoon showing a woman revising the statement "Woman's sphere is the home" to "Woman's sphere is wherever she makes good." She's holding a list of places, such as "the home," "the law," and "industry," that can be used to complete the revised statement.
1920: "The Sky Is Now Her Limit"
This cartoon shows a young woman carrying buckets and looking up at a ladder ascending up to the sky, bottom rungs labeled "slavery," "house drudgery," and "shop work." The top rungs are labeled "equal suffrage," "wage equity," and "presidency."
1930: "I'm A Suffragette"
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A suffragette postcard in circulation between 1909-1920.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the 19th Amendment granted only white women the right to vote.

Before You Go

1922: Gained The Right To Marry A Foreigner And Keep Their Citizenship

Rights Women Have Gained Since Earning The Right To Vote

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