On December 10, 1869, Wyoming territory passed the first law in United States history granting women the right to vote and hold public office – more than 50 years prior to the U.S. ratification of the 19th amendment.
Celebrating Wyoming’s Strong Women
With the milestone anniversary, Wyoming wants to encourage travelers to plan a visit to celebrate the history and the strong women of today.
From Cheyenne to Rock Springs and Jackson to Sheridan, the state will mark the anniversary with activities, events, retreats and must-visit historic destinations that commemorate the spirit of Wyoming as the first frontier for women.
“We are proud to declare 2019 the ‘Year of Wyoming Women,’ as the home of many firsts for women in the country and the world,” Diane Shober, executive director of Wyoming Office of Tourism.
“Determination, resiliency and the pioneering spirit is built into the DNA of the West, so it’s no surprise to me that the strong women of Wyoming helped to pave the way for women’s suffrage.
“With significant events, including our state Capitol building reopening this coming summer, Wyoming is truly a top destination for travelers next year.”
To help travelers plan their next Wyoming getaway, Wyoming has compiled suggestions for and a list of official events celebrating Wyoming women and the anniversary throughout the year.
Travelers are also encouraged use #ThatsWYWomen to share their experiences on social and get more inspiration for how others are marking the anniversary.
Wyoming Women’s History
While often referred to as the “Cowboy State,” Wyoming’s true nickname is the “Equality State” for its role in women’s suffrage and throughout history. Wyoming has been home to many firsts for women 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, WY
- First female Justice of the Peace (1870) – Esther Hobart Morris
- First female court bailiff (1870) – Mary Atkinson
- First woman confirmed by U.S. Senate to serve in federal position (1895) – Estelle Reel
- First town governed entirely by women (1920) – Jackson, WY
- First female elected governor (1925) – Nellie Tayloe Ross
Twenty years after the 1869 law passed, Wyoming sought statehood and it famously refused to enter the Union if women’s suffrage was not upheld. And in 1890, Wyoming officially entered the Union as the 44th state and the first state to allow women these rights.
For more information about Wyoming’s 150th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage and the Wyoming Office of Tourism, visit the award-winning site, TravelWyoming.com.