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ABOUT the League

Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy

The League of Women Voters' Mission

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government,
works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

 What Does the League Do? 

The Active Present


The League of Women Voters is a peoples' organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all Americans in the decisions that impact their lives. We operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well as in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. We never endorse or oppose political parties or candidates, but we are political.


Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. We do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Our issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all Americans.

  To view and join one of our working groups, see our Member Hub page.

To read about the lives and work of some of our trailblazing "Marvelous Members", click here .

 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

The League's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.


 To learn more, see DEI Webinars available from LWVUS here .

LWVPGH Volunteers at Recovery Walk Registration Event

Forum with Urban League Partners

LWVPGH Volunteer delivers speech at Naturalization Ceremony

Why Should I Support
the League of Women Voters?

The Challenging Future: We walk our talk
We walk our talk: we believe that we need everyone to participate in order for our community to be strong, safe and vibrant. Whether you contribute your time, your money, or both you can feel confident that your investment in democracy goes further in the League.


Civil Discourse

Groups of League members meet to discuss topics in a respectful setting. They learn effective techniques for public discussion, how to advocate on specific policies, and what the issues beneath the rhetoric are. Our study and consensus process ensures that we are fully informed on issues before we take a stand. We also host public forums and debates which are well known for being fair, transparent and civil.  We welcome new citizens at Naturalization ceremonies with the opportunity to register to vote.

 For More, CLICK ON the "Where We Stand" infographic and  CLICK ON "Program and Positions Defined" below.

 CLICK ON the Positions page for more.

Civic Education Resources and Countering Misinformation

The League's approach to civil discourse has led to a global reputation for integrity and thoroughness.  In the Pittsburgh area, our League has gained respect for being a reliable and trustworthy source of information about government, elections and voting.  
 For resources about government, elections and voting, to raise your Civics IQ, and for Classroom Materials,  see web pages under "Civic Education Resources" in the Menu, like:
Schools and Community, Video Library, and Explainer and Graphics web pages .

 For more, see our Mis- and Disinformation   web page. 

To view or download the "Fact or Fiction" infographic, CLICK ON the image.

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LWVPGH Program and Positions Defined
LWVPGH Program and Positions Defined

When the LWV was first formed, the women were not only committed to voting, but were anxious to make known their opinions on numerous public issues. They were determined that the newly enfranchised women would cast informed votes


At their first meeting, they listed 69 different items that they wanted to address. They did do some prioritizing and formed study committees to look into the most important issues and report back to the membership. These study committees and the issues they examined became the basis for what League calls “Program”. 


Since then, Program has expanded to include items at all levels of government. Suggestions for study topics have always been provided from the grass-roots (members) and selected by delegates at annual meetings or state or national conventions. National and state study items have routinely been researched by board members at the appropriate level and study information provided to the local leagues, along with certain questions that guided the discussion at local, or Unit, meetings. 


The goal was always to reach consensus on the questions, which were then sent to the national or state League. The board members compiled the responses from the local leagues and from that determined the League’s opinion, or Position, on the issue at hand.  League members and local leagues may then use these positions to lobby elected officials on those topics. Local Leagues follow similar procedures when they determine a local issue that they feel needs to be studied.

For more, see our Positions page here.

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History of the League of Women Voters
History of the League of Women Voters

What is the History of the League of Women Voters?

The Productive Past

In her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, Missouri, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a "league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation." Women Voters was formed within the NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where suffrage had already been attained. The next year, on February 14, 1920 - six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified - the League was formally organized in Chicago as the national League of Women Voters. Catt described the purpose of the new organization:

   "The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?"

For more, see our History page here .

1984 Debate Committee celebrates following a national Presidential Debate with

Jesse Jackson, Walter Mondale, and Gary Hart.

See more on the History page

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Maud Wood Park
Maud Wood Park

Maud Wood Park became the first national president of the League and thus the first League leader to rise to the challenge. She had steered the women's suffrage amendment through Congress in the last two years before ratification and liked nothing better than legislative work. From the very beginning, however, it was apparent that the legislative goals of the League were not exclusively focused on women's issues and that citizen education aimed at all of the electorate was in order.

Since its inception, the League has helped millions of citizens become informed participants in government. In fact, the first league convention voted 69 separate items as statements of principle and recommendations for legislation. Among them were protection for women and children, right of working women, food supply and demand, social hygiene, the legal status of women, and American citizenship. The League's first major national legislative success was the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act providing federal aid for maternal and child care programs. In the 1930's, League members worked successfully for enactment of the Social Security and Food and Drug Acts. Due at least in part to League efforts, legislation passed in 1938 and 1940 removed hundreds of federal jobs from the spoils system and placed them under Civil Service.

During the postwar period, the League helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. Participation. The League was one of the first organizations in the country officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization; it still maintains official observer status today.

 For more, see the History page here .

"Remember the Ladies and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors...Remember that all Men would be tyrants if they could."
                                                              --Abigail Adams, Letter to John Adams, March 31, 1776