On this day, 94 years ago, women all across our country won the right to vote with the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many western states had already passed laws allowing women the right to vote – including Washington State in 1910, a full 10 years before the rest of the country.

On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee passed the 19th Amendment by a one vote margin and became the 36th state to ratify the amendment – the last state needed for a two-thirds majority for the amendment to be adopted. The documents certifying the actions of the Tennessee legislature arrived in Washington D.C. by train early in the morning on Aug. 26, 1920 and Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the papers to make the 19th Amendment part of the U.S. Constitution.

The follwoing map from early August 1920 shows that many states in the eastern half of the country had either limited or no universal suffrage for women at all.The map also shows that Washington State was the fifth state to approve women’s suffrage and was the first state to do so in the 1900s. The success in Washington sparked renewed efforts in many other western states, which ultimately led to Congress approving the Constitutional amendment for universal women’s suffrage throughout the country. Astonishingly, it took 131 years after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution for women to have full voting rights.

Today should serve as a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in advancing issues affecting women. We have many brave women to honor and thank for today – for the right of women in every state to vote and have a voice in their government.