From the first six female legislators elected in 1923 to the nearly 200 women who have served in the Ohio General Assembly since, our state is rich in examples of women who have leant their names to Ohio’s history with courage, leadership and determination. We celebrate the many contributions of women during Women’s History Month in March.  And at the Ohio Statehouse, we can celebrate our past and present women lawmakers every time we walk through those hallowed halls.

On June 16, 1919, Ohio became the 6th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. A little more than a year later, on August 26, 1920, the amendment was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. 

The following election, in 1922, delivered six women to Ohio's 85th General Assembly - two to the Senate and four to the House of Representatives. Since then, women have valiantly served in the halls of the capitol building, including one speaker of the House—Jo Ann Davidson. 

In June 2008, a room in the Ohio Statehouse was dedicated to serve as a lasting tribute to those first six women.

The Ladies' Gallery, located off the Statehouse Atrium along its southeast passageway, pays homage to the first female Ohio legislators who paved the way for women in government. The space is meant to inform and inspire all who visit - especially young women and girls - to take an active role in democracy. The room contains an interactive video kiosk, historic items, clothing, photos, banners and artifacts pertaining to the first women legislators and the history of the Suffrage movement in Ohio. 

“Give women a chance in the legislative halls and I predict America will be a happier and better place in which to live. She can and will measure up in public life,” once said the late-Rep. Adelaide Sterling Ott, one of our state’s first six female lawmakers.

And that’s most certainly been the case. Since women have taken elected office, our female lawmakers have worked fervently to make our nation and state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Our legislators, both female and male, continue to fight for those issues that are close to the hearts of Ohio women and families—job creation, access to quality health care, fair tax policies, educational opportunities and rebuilding our communities to drive economic growth.

This March, we celebrate Ohio’s very first female legislators, and all women, while we reflect and look forward on the road to prosperity. It is by their inspiration that we continue to move forward.

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