California’s Suffrage Centennial

April 08, 2011

In October, Berkeley, California, will see a blast from the past in the form of early 20th-century suffragists. In celebration of the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in California, a parade will march down the streets of Berkeley. This is just one of the many events the California Women Suffrage Committee and their community partners are planning to celebrate this occasion.

While various organizations in Berkeley celebrate women’s suffrage every year, this year will be different. In order to make it a memorable event, various groups have joined together to organize a major celebration that includes a costume parade, exhibits at the California Museum, and a celebration in Sacramento. The purpose of this centennial celebration is not only to honor the suffragists who fought for the vote but also to encourage women and men to remember the struggle for civil rights in this country.

When the AAUW Berkeley (CA) Branch asked me to participate in these activities, I was both honored and surprised that it had been 100 years since women gained the vote in the state. Like many young women of my generation, I have come to take some of my civil rights for granted. In my mind and in the minds of many young women, voting is something that we have always had, and it is hard to picture being denied that right. We forget our fellow women who fought so hard for the right to be represented in government, the right to have a voice in our country.

Remembering the victories and defeats of feminists before us is important because it reminds us that there is still work to be done in the area of gender equality. The struggle for suffrage is a major part of women’s history in the United States, but it is often excluded from the history books. The history of women must be celebrated and remembered so that generations to come can feel encouraged to continue forward in the fight against inequality.

When women in 2011 march down Solano Avenue in Berkeley wearing the classic suffragette attire, it will not only be a reenactment of a piece of history but also a tribute to a period in women’s history that should never be forgotten.

This post was written by AAUW National Student Advisory Council member Anita Botello-Santoyo.

AAUWguest By:   |   April 08, 2011


  1. Avatar Marilyn McGregor says:

    Glad to see that AAUW and Berkeley and Sacramento groups will be celebrating
    the Centennial. However, there are those of us who need to know the dates and
    times of the program in different sites as we would like to attend as many events
    as possible.

    Do you know that San Francisco Public Library is also planning an exhibit and event
    on Centennial that has been in planning for several months? We would also love to attend the San Francisco event and hope that it will not be in conflict with Berkeley and
    Sacramento events.

    Please respond to this query.

    Marilyn McGregor, San Francisco, Ca.

    Some AAUW groups such as Thousand Oaks did their celebration in March. Other
    groups need to know soon on dates and contents of events.

  2. We are looking to do some California Centennial celebrations here in the San Diego area. Would love to collaborate where possible. Please keep us in the loop.

    Also, we were unable to print your website pages… is this intentional?

    Look forward to hearing from you more. Thanks

    Ashley Gardner
    Museum Director

    • Avatar Anita Botello-Santoyo says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I passed on your message to the CWSC Committee and they were very excited to hear that you are interested in joining the celebration and will keep you updated as things develop here. In regards to the website…did you have a problem viewing the page or printing from the page? Please also join us on face book (California Women Suffrage Centennial 1911-2011 Votes for Women)…we recently created a page and you can look for updates there and contact us through that page as well.
      Thank you,
      Anita Botello-Santoyo

Join the Conversation

You must be logged in to post a comment.