League of Women Voters is an outgrowth of the suffragist movement.
Carrie Chapman Catt founded the organization in 1920 during the
convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
The convention was held only six months before the 19th amendment
to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to
vote after a 57-year struggle.
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 was 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
status 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.
League of Women Voters (LWV) mission is to encourage the informed
and active participation of citizens in government and to influence
public policy through education and advocacy. LWV takes position
on issues, but we do not support or oppose candidates or political
parties. Membership is open to men and women.
League activities are coordinated into two distinct but complementary
organizations. The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS)
is the political advocacy and membership organization. The League
of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) is the citizen education
and research organization. It also funds the publication of the
nonpartisan voter guide.