Inside Story: The first woman to register to vote in Harris County

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HOUSTON — In today's world, it's common practice for men and women to stand side by side as equals when casting votes in any election, but as we all know, this wasn't always the case.

Let's take a trip back in time 100 years when the first female Houstonian registered to vote.

Hortense Sparks Ward was a Houston area attorney who paid her $1.50 poll tax in 1918. And then, with pen in hand, she made history.

Some would say World War I sped up the process of women's suffrage since soldiers who died left property to their wives and women were forced to join the workforce to make ends meet.

And over the next 17 days, some 386,000 Texas women followed in Ward's footsteps.

Today, the Institute for Women's Policy says women in Texas, and nearly every other state, are more likely to be registered to vote than men.

To read more about women's suffrage in the Bayou City, and what it took to earn the right to vote 100 years ago, pick up this month’s issue of Houstonia.


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