Carrie Lane was born in Wisconsin in 1860. She studied law at Iowa State College and after graduating became a superintendent of schools in Mason City (1883-84). She married the publisher, Lee Chapman, in 1884 but he died two years later.
Carrie had gradually developed feminist views and in 1890 became a state organizer for the Iowa Women's Suffrage Association. Soon after this she married George Catt, an engineer from Seattle. Catt agreed with Carrie's political views and signed a contract agreeing that she could devote half of each year to the campaign for women's suffrage.
At the end of the 19th century Catt emerged as one of the leaders of the women's suffrage movement and in 1900 was elected president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. A committed pacifist, Catt with her friend, Jane Addams, formed the Women's Peace Party.
Catt's dynamic leadership helped to bring about the 19th Amendment in 1920 that secured the vote for women. Carrie Chapman Catt continued to campaign for women's rights and world peace until her death in 1947.