Idaho Teachers Invited to Attend Summer Institute on Women’s Suffrage

Idaho teachers of all grades and disciplines are invited to apply to attend the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2019 weeklong summer institute, titled “Are Women People?” The Journey for Voting Rights, July 15-20 (Monday through Saturday), on the campus of Boise State University. Successful applicants will receive lodging and meals, texts, and the opportunity for optional college credit. Community college teachers also are eligible to apply. The deadline for online applications is March 1, 2019.

     Teachers will receive institute texts, including the new book The Women’s Suffrage Movement, edited by Sally Roesch Wagner (available in 2019), and an electronic compilation of other pertinent primary and secondary readings.  In addition to attending daily lectures and discussions, teachers will attend special evening presentations, view films, and share ways of teaching this topic in the classroom.

     As the nation prepares to commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the Idaho Humanities Council offers an in-depth study of how women achieved this right to vote.  The struggle for women’s suffrage lasted over a hundred years and in many ways is still going on when we consider obstacles that have been present even since 1920 for different groups.  The fight for women’s suffrage brought up questions of race, class, and ethnicity, and forced both its supporters and its opponents to recognize the gaps in voting equality.  When presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson promised to bring the “Government back to the people” in a 1912 campaign speech, suffragist and writer Alice Duer Miller responded with the question, “Are Women People, Mr. President?”  Her question, asked frequently in her weekly New York Tribune column and in a later book, pointed out the discrepancies and hypocrisies in a nation based on liberty, where a person’s sex was one of many barriers to voting.  From well-known suffrage leaders to local activists, this institute seeks to provide a face to the larger movement, while examining the complexities.

     This institute will help teachers across the state understand the many stories of women’s suffrage, paying attention to different strategies used, rationales given, and outcomes achieved.  There was no one journey for the fight for women’s votes, even after the 19th Amendment.  This institute examines not only the history leading up to the passage of women’s voting rights, but also how those rights were not equally exercised or available to all women even after 1920. 

     Scholar presenters so far include Katherine Aiken, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Idaho, Amy Canfield, Associate Professor of History at Lewis-Clark State College and IHC Executive Committee member, Janis Johnson, Assistant Professor of English, University of Idaho and IHC Board member, Maggie Rehm, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Idaho, Rebecca Scofield, Assistant Professor of History, University of Idaho, and others.

     Teachers traveling more than 250 miles one way may be eligible for a modest travel stipend upon request. The online application deadline is March 1, 2019.  For more information, visit, call the IHC office, (208) 345-5346, or contact Cindy Wang at

To apply, please click HERE.

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