The City Council honored the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in California with a proclamation at the March 8, 2011, Council meeting. Local celebrations and commemorations will concentrate in the Fall, around the October 10 one-hundredth anniversary of the election in which women won the vote in California.
Berkeley women and their male allies were among the leaders in the statewide campaign, and Berkeley was the only municipality in the Bay Area where male voters in 1911 supported voting rights for women. Statewide, the margin of victory came from rural voters, not urban areas.
The two women on the current City Council, Susan Wengraf and Linda Maio, took turns reading the proclamation, which was then ceremonially handed to three individuals representing the groups organizing the local commemorations.
From left to right, John Aronovici of the Berkeley Historical Society, Nancy Bickel of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley-Albany and Emeryville chapter, and Phyllis Housel Gale, associated with both the Historical Society and the local chapter of the American Association of University Women. Gale has been the leader in the local effort.
Gale noted to the Council that April, 1912, was the first time Berkeley women were actually able to vote. A municipal election took place that month, some six months following the approval of suffrage. California was the sixth state where women won the right to vote. Nationally, the Constitution was not amended to require voting rights for women throughout the country until 1920.
A more detailed account of the Berkeley Women's Suffrage movement was in the March 2, 2011, Planet.