History & Mission

Democratic convention 1920 Seated: (left) Miss Dortch of Tennessee, 1st Director from 3rd region who resigned during year (right) Mrs. Richard Edwards. Standing: (left to right) Miss Mary McDowell of Chicago, Miss Adah Bush of Indiana Mrs. Patty Jacobs, Mrs. Maud Wood Park, Mrs. Simmons of Portland, Oregon, 1st Director of 7th Region, Mrs. James Paige of Minneapolis.

Democratic convention 1920 Seated: (left) Miss Dortch of Tennessee, 1st Director from 3rd region who resigned during year (right) Mrs. Richard Edwards. Standing: (left to right) Miss Mary McDowell of Chicago, Miss Adah Bush of Indiana Mrs. Patty Jacobs, Mrs. Maud Wood Park, Mrs. Simmons of Portland, Oregon, 1st Director of 7th Region, Mrs. James Paige of Minneapolis.


Mission

The League of Women Voters®, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

I first joined my local League around 1967, when I was a young housewife - I wanted to learn about my community and to talk about more than just diapers and babies.
— Judy Corliss

History of the League

The League of Women Voters® was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

This holds true today. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. The League has a long, rich history that continues with each passing year.