I know what you are thinking! Steph, you’re saying, Alice Paul is NOT a conservative. BUT, as noted earlier, Women’s History Month is not about celebrating one TYPE of woman...it is about celebrating all of us. And, either way, every conservative woman should know about Alice Paul and what she did for women, especially because prominent conservative women have her to thank for our right to vote. Additionally, what many don’t know is that Alice Paul was pro-LIFE! Paul is one of my absolute heroes, and I’m convinced she should have a spot on every American’s bookshelf. Let’s talk about why!
After reading this article by Kay C. James that expresses the lack of conservative women in Women’s History Month, I was inspired to create my own list! And of course, ever inspired by Mallory and listening to the ‘Those Other Girls’ Podcast, the name ‘Those Other Women’s History Month’ came to me! Excited to partner with TOG on this awesome profile series on inspirational conservative women!
"Mr. President, how long must women wait to get their liberty? Let us have the rights we deserve." -Alice Paul
Alice Paul is best known as a leader of the women’s suffrage movement. At the time, her ways were considered a little radical, but no one can say she didn’t make a storm of change. Her life was so important, and it was a testament to the strength of women!
Alice Paul was born in 1885, and she grew up as a Quaker. Her education was extensive. First, she graduated from Swarthmore College, and then she went on to postgraduate studies at the New York School of Social Work. From there, she did settlement work in England, continued her postgraduate students at the Universities of Birmingham and London, and eventually got degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her ultimate goal was adding a federal women’s suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, securing women’s right to vote and their equality. In 1912, she became chairman of the congressional committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and in 1913 she left to found the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, which eventually formed the National Woman’s Party.
Before all this, during her work in England, she was actually arrested a few times in England for her suffrage work. During her time at the National Woman’s Party, she organized several marches and protests, and was eventually arrested a few times in the U.S. for her protests prior to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Most prominently, before her final arrest, she organized the “Silent Sentinels”, a group of women who picketed the White House for 18 months with signs that said “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”. Of course; they encountered verbal and physical attacks from angry spectators who walked by constantly, but nonetheless, there they stood.
During her time in prison before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, Alice Paul went on a hunger strike, which eventually led to her being force-fed through the nose. Somehow, she was able to write an article about her mistreatment in jail and her cause for women’s rights, and it was published in a prominent paper. This article is said to have had profound impact on the public’s favor toward her cause.
Something that particularly inspires me is that Alice Paul was consistent. She knew that advocating for women’s rights was also tied to advocating for the rights of all. Alice Paul and most of the original suffragists were pro-life. Alice Paul defined abortion as “the ultimate exploitation of women”.
After the Nineteenth Amendment passed, she continued her work, taking a law degree from Washington College of Law and degrees from American University. She also introduced into Congress in 1923, the first equal rights amendment. Her work only continued as the chairman of the Woman’s Research Foundation and the World Party for Equal Rights for Women. She never stopped, and that is why she is such an inspiration to women today, but also, to those who are active in taking a stance and making a change, in general.
"There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it." -Alice Paul