Wyoming’s state motto is The Equality State. In 1869, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote, but is also home to many firsts for women:
First Woman Justice of the Peace: Esther Hobart Morris, pictured here, was appointed February 17, 1870 in South Pass City.
First All-Woman Jury: The first all-woman jury was sworn in March 7, 1870 in Laramie.
First Woman Bailiff: In 1870, Mary Atkinson of Albany County was appointed the first woman bailiff in the world.
First Woman Governor in the U.S: Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected to complete the term of her husband who died in office. She served from 1925 to 1927. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her the first woman to head the U.S. Mint, a position she held until 1953.
First Woman Elected to the Wyoming State Senate: Dora McGrath, a Republican from Thermopolis, for Hot Springs County in 1930.
First Woman Elected to the Wyoming State House of Representatives: Mary G. Bellamy, a Democrat from Albany County, in 1910.
First Woman Statewide Elected Official: Estelle Reel was elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1894.
First Town in America to be Governed Entirely by Women: The city of Jackson, from 1920 to 1921, had a woman mayor, town council and town marshal. One of the councilwomen defeated her husband for her council seat.
However, women in Wyoming, while accomplishing many firsts, are falling behind economically now. Presently, Wyoming has the largest wage gap in the nation between men and women. Very few of our legislators are women. As we can see, Wyoming has been a leader when it comes to equality for women. How do we, as a state, embrace equality for all Wyomingites once more? -Meg Lanker-Simons Guest Blogger