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We analyzed the text of 98 political party platform documents spanning 1840 through 2016 from the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. All political parties receiving electoral votes were included. We programmatically identified paragraphs that might contain women-related issues by searching for a few dozen curated keywords and phrases. Each of the identified paragraphs was then manually reviewed to determine whether or not it contained an accurate and authentic reference. Multiple people performed this task to account for human error and biases, and the results were consolidated and cross-checked for consistency. Lastly, we highlighted the exact excerpts in those paragraphs to produce the final data set.
This project is a continuation of work done in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery for their exhibit Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. The exhibit reveals the women and organizations often overlooked in the complex narrative of women’s suffrage in the United States and is on display March 29, 2019 through January 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.