Women arranged in orderly lines rebutted the argument that the fairer sex did not want the vote. Women in public spaces testified to the disruption of the ancient folklore that women should remain in the home. To march visually undermined the longstanding tenet that women were destined to home and domesticity, there to preside with piety and chastity, while men dealt with public affairs. Indeed it was the claim of some suffragists that women could clean up dirty politics — hence their white dresses. By carrying heavy banners embossed with their slogans, women negated the claim that they were too fragile to participate in manly politics.

Jean Baker on the New York women’s suffrage parade in October 1915.

Women arranged in orderly lines rebutted the argument that the fairer sex did not want the vote. Women in public spaces testified to the disruption of the ancient folklore that women should remain in the home. To march visually undermined the longstanding tenet that women were destined to home and domesticity, there to preside with piety and chastity, while men dealt with public affairs. Indeed it was the claim of some suffragists that women could clean up dirty politics — hence their white dresses. By carrying heavy banners embossed with their slogans, women negated the claim that they were too fragile to participate in manly politics.

Jean Baker on the New York women’s suffrage parade in October 1915.