The League of Women Voters is celebrating over 90 years of educating voters.

 Who was Jeannette Rankin?

   Early life and suffrage movement Rankin was born on a ranch near Missoula, Montana Territory, the first of eleven children born to John Rankin, a rancher and builder who had immigrated from Canada, and Olive Pickering. Her parents were well-to-do and prominent in Montana affairs. Jeannette Rankin never married. She graduated in 1902 with a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Montana. 

   On a visit to Boston in 1904 she was horrified at slum conditions and decided to enter social work. She attended the New York School of Philanthropy, and worked in Spokane, Washington.
   She studied social legislation at the University of Washington, where she became involved in the woman suffrage movement. Agreeing with Jane Addams, Rankin argued that slum conditions were worsened by women's inability to vote.
   In 1910 she returned to Montana to work for the Montana Equal Franchise Society. She declared that she was suspicious of governmental priorities set without women's voice and argued that voteless women were being taxed without representation, echoing the famous credo from the American Revolution.
   Rankin was hired as an organizer by the New York Women's Suffrage Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
   As a field secretary for NAWSA, Rankin directed a suffrage victory in North Dakota in 1913. She quit NAWSA in 1914 to return to Montana to help secure passage of woman suffrage there, which was achieved in 1914.

 Congressional career 

   Her brother Wellington Rankin was a power in the Montana Republican party, and managed her campaign for the party nomination for Congress in 1916 and in the general election.    
   On November 7, 1916 she was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana, becoming the first female member of
Congress where s
he served a single term.

   The Nineteenth Amendment (which gave women the right to vote everywhere in the United States) was not ratified until 1920; therefore, during Rankin's first term in Congress (1917–1919), many women throughout the country did not have the right to vote, though they did in her home state of Montana.
   She supported women's suffrage, child-protection laws, and prohibition. . Her term as Representative ended early in 1919, and she became a Lobbyist. 

   During her years as a lobbyist, Rankin argued for passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act, an infant and maternal health bill which was the first federal social welfare program created explicitly for women and children. The legislation, however, was not enacted until 1921 and was repealed just eight years later.

   In 1940 Jeannette Rankin was re-elected to congress and served from 1940-1942. 

 
   In addition, She was the founding Vice-President of the American Civil Liberties Union and a founding member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.