1980 was the first year that equal numbers of men and women voted. Why were women reluctant to vote for 60 years? What took them so long to catch up with their male counterparts since they had finally won the franchise with the 19th amendment?
Because the census didn’t track voter turnout until the 1960’s the pace that women caught up isn’t known. A re-discovered study has been uncovered that gives further information, according to the Pew Institute:
The study …was published in 1924 by two researchers at the University of Chicago, Professor of Political Science Charles Edward Merriam, and Harold Foote Gosnell, then an instructor in the same department. Years before the fielding of the first statistically representative national opinion polls, the authors aimed through a carefully designed and deployed door-to-door survey to provide a “preliminary approach to the study of political motives.” Their target population was that one-half of the voting-age adults in Chicago who failed to cast a ballot in the mayoral election held on April 3, 1923.
2 of the major reasons women didn’t vote were:
1. Disbelief in women voting
2. Objections of the husband
Women’s suffrage was also the blame for prohibition. Most of what was wrong with the world as seen by people in the roaring 20’s was blamed on women having the right to vote. Many women also saw it as meddling in men’s business and definitely not ‘lady-like.’ General indifference was also cited as a reason for women not voting.
I once asked my grandmother who was 30 years old before she could vote if she had been a suffragette. She looked at me as though I had asked her if she had ever been a prostitute. She said ‘of course not.’ I asked for elaboration. She told me that my grandfather ‘was somebody’ and that it would have shamed him if she had been one of those women. This woman was not a shrinking violet. In fact, she generally was quite full of herself.
This entire subject is pretty much an enigma to me. Did men and women really see themselves in those different roles when it came to politics? Was politics really ‘men’s business’ back then? I guess we have come a long way, baby!