Join Idaho Public Television and Idaho Women in Leadership on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 8 p.m. (Mountain time) for an online screening of the new Idaho Experience documentary “Ahead of Her Time: Women’s Suffrage in Idaho.”
The half-hour screening will be immediately followed by a live Q and A with Emmy Award-winning documentarian Jennie Sue Weltner; Idaho Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb; Rebecca Scofield, Ph.D., assistant professor of twentieth-century American history at the University of Idaho; and NNU student leader Mariela Esquivel-Rodriguez. The discussion will be moderated by IdahoPTV producer Marcia Franklin, who did research and conducted interviews for the documentary.
The screening will be hosted here on the video streaming platform OVEE. Viewers can create an OVEE account (it’s free) and then participate in the screening and Q and A session through a computer or iPad with a strong internet connection.
The documentary will also air on Idaho Public Television (without the Q and A session) on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 8:30 p.m.
About “Ahead of Her Time: Women’s Suffrage in Idaho”
In August, America celebrates 100 years of voting rights for women with the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. By 1920 women in Idaho had already been voting in — and winning — elections for 24 years. The documentary explores how Idaho became the fourth state to grant women voting rights.
“The fact that Idaho granted women the right to vote almost a quarter of a century before the rest of the nation is a pretty remarkable story and one that isn’t part of the national narrative about the history of women’s voting rights,” says independent documentary producer Jennie Sue Weltner. “Ahead of Her Time explores how and why it happened in Idaho and shines a light on some of the remarkable women who made it possible.”
In late 19th-century America, the idea of voting rights for women was radical and considered the most extreme social experiment since post-Civil War reconstruction.
“That Idaho was so ahead of the nation on women’s suffrage is a source of pride for our state and a cause for both celebration and exploration,” says Weltner.
Most of the history about women’s voting rights focuses on the East Coast. However, Western states were leading the way. Wyoming granted women the right to vote in 1870, followed by Colorado (1893), then Utah and Idaho, both in 1896. Utah and Washington states granted women the right to vote earlier, then revoked the privilege. After Idaho, it took another 14 years for a state to grant suffrage to women.
The reasons why Western states granted women the right to vote are complex — and Idaho is no exception. Religion, race, politics, paternalism and prohibition all factor into Idaho’s decision.
Ahead of Her Time: Women’s Suffrage in Idaho features regional historians and scholars on the subject and digs deep to uncover lost history.
Major funding for Idaho Experience is provided by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Anne Voillequé and Louise Nelson, Judy and Steve Meyer, the Futura Corporation, the Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation, the Friends of Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Public Television Endowment and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Ahead of Her Time: Women’s Suffrage in Idaho was independently produced by Jennie Sue Weltner with funding provided by Idaho Women in Leadership, the Pottenger Family Foundation, Zions Bank, Idaho Power, and Midas Gold.