President Benjamin Harrison welcomes Alice Sanger as the first female White House staffer today in 1890.
It has been speculated that Ms. Sanger’s appointment wasan olive branch to the growing women’s suffrage movement. In 1890, two of the most influential women’s suffrage organizations, the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association, combined to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Their demands included stronger female property rights, employment and educational opportunities for women, improved divorce and child custody laws and reproductive freedom.
If Ms. Sanger actively supported women’s suffrage or not is unknown. But Harrison’s appointment ofof her indicats a (cautious) step toward strengthening female representation in government.