Southern state legislature passed constitutional limits and laws that made voter registration and voting more difficult. During the great depression, legislation establishing numerous national social programs or passed without the representation of African-Americans leading to gaps in program coverage. Women and African Americans were both disenfranchised. Women and African Americans had to work longer hours with lower wages. Tactics progressive women used to win the right to vote. They lobbied congress to pass a constitution amendment, used the referendum process to pass state suffrage laws, recruited wealthy, well-educated women to work for suffrage, and held protest marches and hunger strikes. Women fought for their right to vote so they could choose their government which would ultimately improve the quality of their life and their jobs.
Politics were an arena for the rich. Elites like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson positioned themselves as champions of the cause and would compromise legislation that was proposed by the progressive movement because they were willing to make compromises in order to satisfy their own interest and remain in power.
Women, minorities, and working men used their voting power that impacted legislation in order to advance their own interest. They were able to elect officials that would pass legislation that made them a political force that could no longer be ignored.
Source: Keene, Jennifer D., Saul T. Cornell and Edward T. O’Donnell. Vision of America: A History of the United States, Volume, 3/e Boston: Pearson, n.d. Chapter 17.3.2(1)