On its founding, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance adopted yellow as its color.1 The color yellow or gold (for many practical purposes, they are the same color) had long been used by American suffragists and yellow and white came to be the colors that symbolized the international women’s suffrage movement.2
According to Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler,3
Colors were important in the iconography of the suffrage movement. The use of the color gold began with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s campaign in Kansas in 1867 and derived from the color of the sunflower, the Kansas state symbol. Suffragists used gold pins, ribbons, sashes, and yellow roses to symbolize their cause. In 1876, during the U.S. Centennial, women wore yellow ribbons and sang the song “The Yellow Ribbon.” In 1916, suffragists staged “The Golden Lane” at the national Democratic convention; to reach the convention hall, all delegates had to walk through a line of women stretching several blocks long, dressed in white with gold sashes, carrying yellow umbrellas, and accompanied by hundreds of yards of draped gold bunting. Gold also signified enlightenment, the professed goal of the mainstream U.S. suffrage movement.
- Linda J. Lumsden, Rampant Women: Suffragists and the Right of Assembly, Appendix I, p. 162, Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1997, ISBN 1572331631
- Richard Evans, The Feminists: Women’s Emancipation Movements in Europe, America and Australasia 1840–1920, Routledge, 2013, p. 192
- Cheris Kramarae & Paula A. Treichler (eds.), Amazons, Bluestockings and Crones: A Feminist Dictionary, Pandora Press, 1992