The League of Women Voters of Great Bend was organized in 1957. It was and still is the only Kansas League west of Highway 81. In addition to participating in national and state studies, the Great Bend League has studied and taken action in many areas of the community.
According to records, the League worked to establish Barton County (Junior College) College, improvement in physical education in elementary schools, flood control, 911 and increasing the number of county commissioners from three to five.
The Great Bend League has always been involved in voter education through forums, issue papers and questionnaires published in the Tribune. The League is active in voter registration.
The League of Women Voters started after women got the right to vote. The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.
The League began as a “mighty political experiment” designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy.
League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.