Though lovingly referred to as the "Cowboy State,” Wyoming’s true nickname is the "Equality State.” And for good reason. On December 10, 1869, Wyoming passed the first unconditional law in the U.S. permanently guaranteeing women their inherent right to vote and hold office, in addition to being home to other firsts for women throughout history.
The first female to cast a vote after being granted universal suffrage, where this right was maintained in perpetuity, did so in Wyoming’s small town of Laramie a full 50 years before women could vote in the rest of the nation. The first female governor was elected in Wyoming and the nation's first woman to be appointed to public office was done so in South Pass City, Wyoming. In addition, the Equality State is also the home to the first female jurors, the world's first female bailiff and the first town that was governed entirely by women.
When invited to join the Union only if women’s suffrage was revoked, Wyoming’s legislature said, “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women.” In 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state... with the women.
Discover the legacies of Wyoming Women at these historic sites and museums.
In 1869, the Wyoming Territorial Legislature passed groundbreaking a law guaranteeing women their inherent right to vote and hold office. While fighting for suffrage was serious business, it also calls for a bit of celebratory silliness. Indulge in some good humor and hone your wordplay to devise a limerick that captures the wit, joy, and humor of Wyoming’s historic role in the suffrage story.
Coming in December to WyomingPBS, the State of Equality explores Wyoming as the first state to guarantee women their inherent right to vote and hold office. Colorful frontier characters, a volatile mix of motives, and the caprice of history drive this story of a neglected chapter in America’s past.
Today’s Leading Women of Wyoming
In 2019, Wyoming will celebrate the 150th anniversary of women's suffrage in the state. To celebrate, we're deeming 2019 the Year of Wyoming Women. To this day the ladies of Wyoming continue a strong legacy of female empowerment and leadership, pushing boundaries to live out their dreams. Explore the stories of four inspiring Wyoming women.
Share your own stories with us on social media using #ThatsWYwomen.
Lindsay Linton Buk
Lindsay is an artist, photographer and fifth-generation native of Wyoming whose latest project, Women in Wyoming, tells the stories of and celebrates the achievements, power and learned wisdom of contemporary Wyoming women through art and media.
Amber and her family started Backwards Distillery to create quality, locally-crafted spirits to share with their community. Striving to put Wyoming distillers on the map, this distillery co-owner helped found the Wyoming Distillers Guild and is currently the organization’s president.
Rebecca shares her love for the outdoors with women who didn’t grow up camping and hiking, breaking down barriers by giving women the skills and knowledge needed to get outside. In the community she built, all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and outdoor experience levels are welcome.
Cara is a rock climber and Wyoming mountain guide who fell in love with the Tetons as a teenager. When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and when she later faced the same cancer herself, she dealt with it the only way she knew how: by climbing, harnessing the healing power within Wyoming’s wildest places.
Jessie spent her childhood playing outside, working with her hands and riding horses to the creek on her family's guest ranch. Now, as ranch manager of Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch, this former Miss Wyoming is proud to run a business that provides meaningful experiences for people all over the world.
The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming, presents a Suffragette High Tea on the second Thursday of each month at 4:00 through August of 2019, with refreshments for sale and a free display of historic suffrage items. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click learn more below.
Oct 10, 2019 How We Vote in America and Around the World
2200 Pioneer Ave Cheyenne, WY 82001
Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee will draw upon her United Nations work in developing democracies to trace Americans’ voting rights from white landowners only to women’s suffrage to today’s challenges of safeguarding that right. *During the presentation, stop by the Willow Room to register to vote! This event is presented as part of Laramie County Library System, League of Women Voters, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, and Laramie County Community College’s celebration of Women’s Suffrage.
Nov 7 - 9, 2019 2019 Arts Summit: "Equality in the Arts"
Various Locations Cheyenne, WY 82007
The 2019 Arts Summit, "Equity in the Arts: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Wyoming Women's Suffrage," is a bi-annual opportunity for individuals to come together, learn from one another and empower the state's creative sector. The summit offers professional development sessions for artists and arts advocates, administrators, and educators, and will highlight many of Wyoming’s talented visual, performing, and literary artists. Registration is now open for the 2019 Wyoming Arts Summit.
There is no better way to make an impact on your community and influence your elected representatives than with an in-person conversation. Laramie County Library System is giving you the opportunity to engage directly with your representatives, including Governor Gordon and Mayor Orr. Attendees will pose one question to each official and have the opportunity to spend 4 minutes listening to and engaging with the representative’s answer, then moving on to the next in true “speed dating” style. Come take advantage of a unique opportunity to speak personally with your lawmakers and elected officials. This event is presented as part of Laramie County Library System, League of Women Voters Cheyenne, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, and Laramie County Community College’s celebration of Women’s Suffrage.
From restaurants and distilleries to museums and inns, many of Wyoming's businesses are run be female entrepeneurs. Take a look at the listings below to see some of the women-owned businesses and locations highlighting women's history in the Equality State.
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More information on how to get your community, business or organization involved in Wyoming's women's suffrage celebration, is available on our industry site.