In 2019, the Ohio General Assembly approved the formation of the Women’s Suffrage Commission, which was tasked with commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women a constitutional right to vote. Although not every American woman was granted suffrage as a result of the 19th Amendment, its ratification was an important milestone in the ongoing fight for universal suffrage in America.
In addition to in-person and virtual public events and exhibitions, the most important project that was conceived by the Commission was the erection of a monument on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse that honors the flight for women’s suffrage and equality—past, present, and future.
The Ohio Women’s Suffrage Monument Commission is uplifting the incredible women in Ohio’s history who fought to achieve advances in voting rights for women by commemorating their efforts with a monument on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse.
You cannot be what you cannot see. We, therefore, are mobilizing around this monument to honor, connect and inspire women past, present and future who have, do or will use their voices to spark meaningful change.
We envision a monument that helps state leaders, children and visitors understand the contributions of the women who fought for equality—and inspires them to continue the ongoing work toward equality for all people.
We are a group of female leaders from government, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations across Ohio who want to uplift and inspire women throughout the state. We mobilized in 2020 to find ways to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment—a milestone on the journey for equal voting rights for all women. In doing so, we heard and learned of myriad stories of strength, determination and inspiration by the women who came before us. We recognized the need for a monument in Ohio’s key public space to celebrate how women have and continue to use their voices to spark change. This is for the women whose shoulders we stand on, and the ones who will stand on ours.
Nationally, less than 5 percent of all public statues depict real women.
In the United States, there are approximately 5,200 monuments and public sculptures, yet only 394 (less than 8%) depict women. Most of these statues are allegorical depictions like the Statue of Liberty and do not represent the accomplishments of actual women.
Ohio’s Statehouse follows this trend. Currently there are no statues depicting real women, only an allegorical representation of Cornelia atop the These Are My Jewels monument. Only one woman, JoAnn Davidson, the first female Speaker of the Ohio House, is depicted in a painting outside of the “Ladies Gallery.” This must change.
Equally as troubling, currently, there is only one public statue in Columbus representing an actual woman and her accomplishments – the statue of Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock at John Glenn International Airport. Statewide, less than 10 public statues represent actual women.
Women deserve to see themselves and their accomplishments represented in public spaces. Ohio is taking an important step in closing this representation gap. The Ohio Women’s Suffrage Commission imagines a future where women “rally at the monument” to build community and advocate for causes that impact Ohio’s future.
Join us today to make history because we cannot be what we cannot see.
Ohio Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Formed
100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment
Ohio Women’s Suffrage Monument Commission formed
Artist selection begins
Artist selection continues
Monument design begins
Monument approved by the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board
Installation and public unveiling
Senator Stephanie Kunze, Co-Chair Ohio Senate
Representative Tavia Galonski, Co-Chair Ohio House of Representatives
Representative Tracy Richardson Ohio House of Representatives
Rebecca Brown Asmo Executive Director, Ohio Humanities
Laura Battocletti Director, Capital Square Review and Advisory Board
Jeananne Chadsey Deputy Chief of Staff, Ohio Secretary of State
Mary Anne Christie Ohio Republican Party
Donna Collins Director, Ohio Arts Council
Julie Ehemann Commissioner, Shelby County
Kelly Falcone-Hall President & CEO, Western Reserve Historical Society
Jen Miller Director, League of Women Voters of Ohio
Pamela Siekman Co-Founder & CEO, Siekman, Siekman & Associates
Elizabeth Smith Partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
Pat Williamsen Director Emerita, Ohio Humanities
Megan Wood Executive Director & CEO, Ohio History Connection