Timeline of women's suffrage in Hawaii

This is a timeline of women's suffrage in Hawaii. Hawaii went through a transition where it was first the Kingdom of Hawaii, then a political coup overthrew Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893. Women were not allowed to vote and lost political power in the provisional government. In the same year as the coup, Wilhelmina Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett and Emma Kaili Metcalf Beckley Nakuina began to make plans to support women's suffrage efforts. When Hawaii was annexed, members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) advocated for women's suffrage for the territory. In 1912, Dowsett and a diverse group of women created the National Women's Equal Suffrage Association of Hawai'i (WESAH). In 1915 and 1916 Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole brought women's suffrage petitions to the United States Congress, but no action was taken. In 1919, suffragists from WESAH fought for women's suffrage in the territorial legislature, but were also unsuccessful. Women in Hawaii gained the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the United States Constitution on August 26, 1920.

Hawaiian Women On Deck Early To Sign Up, August 30, 1920

19th century

Queen Liliʻuokalani







20th century





  • Prince Kūhiō brings another women's suffrage resolution to the U.S. Congress.[11]


  • Almira Hollander Pitman visits Hawaii and speaks to the territorial legislature on women's suffrage.[11]
  • Prince Kūhiō brings a suffrage bill to the United States Congress so Hawaii can determine their own suffrage rules.[12]
  • June 1: Senator John F. Shafroth brings the suffrage bill to the floor of the Senate.[12]
  • September 15: The bill passes the Senate.[12]



  • March 4: Women's suffrage meeting held at the Hawaii Capitol.[15]
  • March 6: Second women's meeting for women's suffrage held at the Capitol.[16]
  • March 19: Suffrage demonstration held in Hilo.[17]
  • March 23: Mass demonstrations held at the House, with around 500 women of "various nationalities, of all age."[18]



  • August 26: The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment applies to territories, giving women the right to vote.[19][20]
  • August 30: The first women's voter registration drive takes place.[19] The first woman to register was Johanna N. Wilcox.[21]

See also


  1. Steele, Julia (October 2020). "Daughters of Haumea". Hana Hou! (23.4).
  2. McGreevy, Nora (13 August 2020). "How the 19th Amendment Complicated the Status and Role of Women in Hawai'i". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  3. Muller, Rosemarie (2020-08-17). "My Turn: Celebrate and build on heritage of women's suffrage movement". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  4. "Women Organize – A Branch of the Hawaiian Patriotic League is Formed". The Hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. April 4, 1893. p. 8. Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  5. Silva, Noenoe K. (1998). "The 1897 Petitions Protesting Annexation". The Annexation Of Hawaii: A Collection Of Document. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  6. Basson 2005, p. 581.
  7. Marino, Katherine M. (April 2020). "The International History of the U.S. Suffrage Movement". Origins. 13 (7) via Ohio State University.
  8. "Wilhelmina Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett". Hawai‘i Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemoration. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  9. Harper 1922, p. 715-716.
  10. Yasutake 2017, p. 122.
  11. Yasutake 2017, p. 128.
  12. Yasutake 2017, p. 129.
  13. "Mrs. Pitman Gets Credit for Bill". The Honolulu Advertiser. 1918-07-29. p. 7. Retrieved 2020-12-11 via Newspapers.com.
  14. Yasutake 2017, p. 130.
  15. Yasutake 2017, p. 131.
  16. Yasutake 2017, p. 133.
  17. "Hilo Women to Hold Big Rally". Hawaii Tribune-Herald. 1919-03-19. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-12-09 via Newspapers.com.
  18. Yasutake 2017, p. 133-134.
  19. Hopkins, Ruth (14 August 2020). "Meet Wilhelmina Dowsett, the Influential Native Hawaiian Suffragette". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  20. Yasutake, Rumi. "Biographical Sketch of Wilhelmina Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett". Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920 via Alexander Street.
  21. Warren, Grace Tower (1950-09-09). "Kamaaina Kolumn". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 27. Retrieved 2020-12-09 via Newspapers.com.