Who We Are
The League of Women Voters encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. LWV does not support or oppose any political party or candidate but does take — and always has taken — stands on issues its members have studied. The purpose is to create in citizens a sense of responsibility for its nation’s problems. Through research and advocacy, LWV seeks to encourage the informed citizen who actively participates in government.
The League of Women Voters is the direct descendant of the US woman suffrage movement of the mid-19th to early 20th century. At the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) National Convention in 1920, held at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, IL, NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt proposed a merger of several suffrage groups to create a new organization that would help newly enfranchised women learn how to register, how to vote, how to learn about their candidates, and how to learn about the workings of their governments. Six months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the National League of Women Voters came into existence and immediately began fulfilling its mission. In Pennsylvania, the League set out immediately to help cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia register thousands of women and teach them how to vote. For more information about the history of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, check out our publication 50 Years and Proud of It.
Over the years, LWV has broadened its mission and its reach, with hundreds of Leagues in every state of the Union, the US Virgin Islands, and Hong Kong. In addition to voter service, League leadership also decided that the organization would work towards “needed legislation”, and has, since the beginning, taken positions on issues that matter to members. Our position statement, entitled “Where We Stand”, can be found here.
What We Do
Through a rigorous study and consensus-taking process that is initiated by the grassroots membership, the League of Women Voters takes positions on issues such as voting and election reforms, criminal justice reform, fair funding for education, environmental protection, and more.
From there, we provide the resources and information that our members and the general public need to advocate for the issues they believe in. It is through this process that each and every individual member of LWV has a voice in the organization’s policies and actions. From local meetings to national conventions, it is the members who make the policy decisions of LWV a reality. Officers and boards of directors carry out these decisions.
The ultimate goal of the League of Women Voters is to create an informed, empowered citizenry and a responsible, responsive government. In addition to helping voters register, our members:
conduct research in areas that are important to Pennsylvania voters;
observe public meetings of governmental bodies;
prepare and distribute nonpartisan voters’ guides;
publish factual publications on complex, controversial subjects
provide testimony on issues important to Pennsylvania voters