Throughout 2019, The Sheridan Press featured inspiring women from across the Equality State as we counted down to the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming with a big celebration on Dec. 10.
HISTORY OF WYOMING WOMEN
On Dec. 10, 1869, Wyoming territory passed the first law in United States history recognizing women’s right to vote and hold public office — more than 50 years before the U.S. ratification of the 19th amendment. In honor of the anniversary, the Wyoming Office of Tourism named 2019 the “Year of Wyoming Women.”
Wyoming has been home to many firsts for women, according to WOT, including:
First woman to vote in a general election in the U.S. (1870): Louisa “Eliza” Swain
First women to serve on a jury (1870): Laramie
First female Justice of the Peace (1870): Esther Hobart Morris
First female court bailiff (1870): Martha Atkinson
First woman confirmed by U.S. Senate to serve in federal position (1895): Estelle Reel
First town governed entirely by women (1920): Jackson
First female elected governor (1925): Nellie Tayloe Ross
When Wyoming sought statehood, the state refused to enter the Union if women’s suffrage was not upheld. In 1890, Wyoming officially entered the Union as the 44th state, the first to recognize women’s fundamental rights.
YEAR OF WYOMING WOMEN
Inspired by WOT, The Press created a special series highlighting the strong Wyoming women of today. Published on the 10th of every month, the features celebrate a variety of women, from a mountain climber to a Supreme Court justice to an oncologist.
Meet the 2019 features:
January: Mandy Fabel
February: Amber Pollock
March: Mary Margaret Legler
April: Rep. Dr. Cathy Connolly
May: Ret. Brigadier General Kathy J. Wright
June: Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Kari Gray
July: Lindsay Linton Buk
August: Dr. Megan Ratterman
September: Rory Tendore
October: Morgan Poloncic
November: Julie Tennant-Caine
December: Jennie Gordon
Carrie Haderlie is the writer behind the series.
“For every Wyoming woman we’ve featured, I’ve spoken to several more who are equally accomplished,” Haderlie said. “It’s important that we recognize these accomplishments in our ongoing journey toward becoming ‘the Equality State,’ which is more of a goal to strive toward than a reality achieved 150 years ago.”
Discover Haderlie’s experience interviewing the women over the past year in her column.
150TH ANNIVERSARY OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE IN WYOMING
On Dec. 10, The Press threw a sold-out community celebration of women’s suffrage at The Brinton Museum.
The evening centered around the premiere screening of “State of Equality,” a Wyoming PBS documentary about 150 years of Wyoming women’s right to vote and hold public office. A simulcast screening also took place in Cheyenne on the same date. The documentary is now available to watch here.
Following the documentary screening, Sheridan Press Director of Special Projects Caitlin Addlesperger led a panel discussion with regional experts Rosie Berger, Kristin Wilkerson and Dr. Janine Pease.
The festivities also included a living history exhibit and performance, written and directed by Sheridan High School Drama Coach Grace Cannon and performed by SHS actors.
Editor’s note: Looking for more ways to celebrate the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage? Register to vote! We also recommend checking out Sheridan Travel & Tourism’s excellent podcast highlighting regional women and Lindsay Linton Buk’s multimedia project Women in Wyoming.