For the first time in American history, the majority of the voters in the presidential election of 1944 will be women. That party managers have realized this fact has been evidenced by their special appeals to the feminine vote in campaign literature, public statements, and management techniques. Furthermore, in a growing number of cases, women have been entrusted with responsible functions in party organization which up to now have been reserved for men. To cite but one example in national party structure, there is the appointment for the first time of a woman to serve as secretary of the Democratic national committee.
The unusual political responsibilities and opportunities which war conditions have made available to women bring up the question of the progress they have been able to achieve in national party organization during the years since the adoption of the suffrage amendment in 1920. In 1933, an analysis of the formal status of women in the national party organizations was made by Miss Sophonisba Breckinridge, and included in her volume, Women in the Twentieth Century, published as one of a series of monographs on “Recent Social Trends in the United States,” under the direction of President Hoover's Research Committee on Social Trends. As a formal measure of women's status in national party organization, Miss Breckinridge examined their participation in the national conventions and their position on the national committees of both parties from 1892, when they were first represented in a convention, through 1932.
The present study carries Miss Breckinridge's investigation through the 1936, 1940, and 1944 nominating conventions. The data used in both studies were obtained from the official convention records and from replies of national committeewomen to questionnaires.