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The History of the League


Milestones of the
League of Women Voters of the United States


  • In 1920, LWV was established by Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, in tandem with the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right
    to vote.

  • The LWV mission was to provide educational opportunities for voters about issues and policies and provide encouragement for voting and involvement in politics.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt joined LWV and served as VP of Legislative Affairs.

  • In 1928, LWV sponsored the first “Meet the Candidates” forum on radio.


  • LWV advocated for social security, food and drug acts and the merit system for selection government employees.


  • LWV advocated for establishment of the United Nations and American participation; the League has an official observer status with the UN and is a special consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).


  • LWV supported formation of two-year community colleges and opposed tactics used during the McCarthy hearings.


  • LWV supported civil rights as well as voting rights for citizens of Washington, DC.


  • LWV supported the Equal Rights Amendment and abolishment of the Electoral College and advocated for environmental issues. Men were admitted as members.

  • In 1976, LWV won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Broadcasting for sponsoring the first presidential debate since the Nixon/Kennedy debates in 1960.


  • LWV sponsored the Presidential Debates of 1980 and 1984. 

  • Since 1982, the LWV has endorsed Voters’ Rights Act Amendments.


  • In 2017, the LWV argued in the Supreme Court case Gill v. Whitford that partisan gerrymandering violates the first amendment and equal protection clause of the US Constitution.

  • In 2018, the LWV voted to reduce the age of membership to 16 and suspend dues for students for 2 years. Associate memberships are offered to those under the age of 16.

  • In 2020 , the LWV celebrated its 100th Anniversary and the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Read more History of the League.

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