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CoastLine: A Short History Of Women In American Politics

courtesy Professor Jennifer Le Zotte, UNCW

Women make up only a third of state legislators in the United States.  On Capitol Hill, the numbers are lower – with women holding only about 24% of Congressional seats.  But according to a recent UN Study, the number of female heads of government around the world is down by a third compared to five years ago.

100 years ago this August, women won the right to vote in the United States.   That right came after activists suffered through public derision, jail, getting thrown down stairs, and other kinds of torture. 

On this edition, we look at the path to the women's vote and its intersection with the movement to abolish slavery and give African American people the right to vote.  We explore whether women face a harder battle on the road to elective office, and why, despite the documented gender pay gap, some say women don’t have trouble raising money for political campaigns. 

We also look at whether Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar face gender discrimination today. 


Barbara Burrell is a Professor Emerita of Political Science from Northern Illinois University.  She is the current of Voter Services for the Brunswick County League of Women Voters. 

Jennifer Le Zotte is an Assistant Professor of U.S. History and Material Culture at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.