We March On Celebrating 100 years of Women's Suffrage


The women's suffrage movement in Connecticut was spearheaded by the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA).

Founded in 1869 by Isabella Beecher Hooker and Frances Ellen Burr, the organization's goal was to convince the Connecticut General Assembly to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Following Hooker's lead, activist Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn (left) served as president of the CWSA before joining the fight in national organizations. In collaboration with other organizations, including the Connecticut League of Women Voters, the CWSA was instrumental in achieving the ratification of the 19th Amendment in Connecticut.

Every woman has rights as a human being first, which belong to no sex, and ought to be as freely conceded to her as if she were a man.

Isabella Beecher Hooker


Mary Hall was the first woman admitted to practice law in Connecticut.

She attended a women's suffrage convention in Hartford during the 1870s. Learning about restrictions on property rights for married women led her to study the law, and ultimately, she applied for admission to the Connecticut Bar. Although the bar examiners believed that she should be admitted, they deferred to the courts to make a final decision.

In July 1882, the Connecticut Supreme Court declared that women could be qualified to practice law, and Hall was admitted to the Hartford County Bar. This case was one of the first successes in using the judicial system to achieve equal rights for women.

In 1917, suffragists from the National Woman's Party began to picket the White House in support of the cause, leading to many arrests.

Among those arrested were Catherine Flanagan of Hartford and Helena Hill Weed of Norwalk. Weed was actually arrested for protests on three occasions, spending a combined total of 19 days in prison.

Helena Hill Weed, c. 1917

By the time Connecticut ratified the 19th Amendment, it had already been passed by enough states to be officially adopted.

However, in a show of support and despite significant opposition, the Connecticut General Assembly voted to become the 37th state to ratify on September 14, 1920.

In 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and sent it to the states for ratification.

Connecticut ratified the ERA in March 1973, becoming one of over 30 states in support. Although the federal amendment fell short of the required number of state ratifications, the Connecticut General Assembly adopted an Equal Rights Amendment to the state Constitution in 1974, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters.

No person shall be denied the equal protection of the law nor be subjected to segregation or discrimination in the exercise or enjoyment of his or her civil or political rights because of religion, race, color, ancestry, national origin or sex.

Article V, Amendments to the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, 1974