Recently, we received an email from Julie. She let us know that her daughter Grace was doing some research on the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Ever the caring mom, Julie looked over Grace’s shoulders as she tried to find a site with the information she needed. Then she found our Women’s Suffrage blog.
With the information in hand, Julie and Grace took it an extra step and wrote us a ‘Thank You’ note about the information and the resources. Plus, Grace shared a site with us that she liked. #SharingIsCaring
Thus, our inspiration for writing about the Women’s Suffrage Movement: The Wyoming Edition.
In 1869, Wyoming passed the Women’s Suffrage bill. However, at this time Wyoming was still a territory, it wasn’t a state. When trying to become a state, the suffrage bill was challenged, but ultimately the decision to allow women to vote stood strong.
Resources state a few different reasons why voters in Wyoming wanted to allow women to vote. Most all sources state three specific reasons:
- Male voters felt women were entitled to vote and not allowing them to do so was an injustice.
- Male voters were hoping to increase the conservative vote.
- Lastly, Wyoming men were hoping the right to vote, along with the isolated land, would entice more women to move to the area and settle down. At the time, the Wyoming territory population had around 6,000 men and only 1,000 women.
These are not the only reasons for Wyoming passing the Suffrage Bill, but they were the most prominent across our resources.
Women’s history in Wyoming is impressive. Take a look at the women below and download the PDF for an additional resource.
- Esther Hobart Morris: The first woman in the nation to hold public office. She was appointed Justice of the Peace in South Pass City in 1870.
- Louisa Swain: The first woman to cast a vote under the new law in Wyoming.
- Eliza Stewart, Amelia Heath, Mary Jane Mackle, Jane Hilton, Sarah Pease, and Annie Monaghan: The first women to serve on a jury.
- Estelle Reel: First women elected to a statewide office in Wyoming.
- Mary Godat Bellamy: The first women legislator. She sponsored bills dedicated to improving women’s rights and the lives of women and children.
- Susan Wissler: The first female mayor. She was elected the mayor of Dayton, Wyoming in 1912.
- Liz Byrd: School teacher Harriett Elizabeth Byrd was Wyoming’s first Black women legislator serving in the House and Senate from 1981-1992. Her focus was on social justice and voted to make MLK Day a state holiday nine times before it was adopted in 1990.
Our history, no matter the state, is important to learn and grow from. If you want to learn more about Women’s Equity, check out Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew‘s Women in the Workplace course or Karuna Thomas and Aliah Henry‘s Allyship course. Or if you want to book a speaker to discuss Women’s Equality with your organization, contact us at LetsGo@DiversityCrew.com.
A special thank you to Grace, who inspired this Women’s Suffrage Edition! Keep researching and learning from history. Knowledge will empower you to go far and face the obstacles that come your way. As you can see, there were a lot of men and WOMEN who fought for women rights, maybe even your mom and grandma. Thank you!
Wyoming Attorney LLC (the link Grace shared)