As the state of Wyoming nears December 10 – the sesquicentennial anniversary of women’s suffrage – the Governor’s Council for the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Celebration wants to encourage organizations and communities to participate in state-wide celebrations thru September 6, 2020.
“This year and next year hold many milestones for the state of Wyoming,” said Diane Shober, executive director of WOT and member of the Governor’s Council for the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Celebration. “We want to see every town and destination getting involved, not only to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Wyoming women’s suffrage, but also to recognize the incredible women in Wyoming today.”
On December 10, 1869, the Wyoming territory passed the first unconditional law in the United States guaranteeing women their inherent right to vote and hold public office – more than 50 years prior to the U.S. ratification of the 19th amendment. Then on September 6, 1870, the first woman to vote in a presidential election cast the ballot in Laramie, Wyoming. As the nation prepares for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment in 2020, Wyoming will continue to celebrate its milestone anniversaries well before.
There are a variety of simple, creative ways for communities and organizations to celebrate and honor the upcoming anniversaries, such as dedicating an art exhibit, organizing educational programs and organizing women’s retreats. Some examples of communities participating include Visit Cheyenne’s development of a downtown mural, a “Big Boot” addition and this digital campaign piece, along with Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism’s Proud Wyoming Woman Retreat.
Submit an official event, program or project here. Consider applying to ThinkWY Wyoming Humanities for a humanities/cultural ‘Spark Grant’ to help your community conduct a suffrage-related event. To learn more about Wyoming’s pioneering history, organizations can secure a speaking engagement through the Governor’s Council for the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Celebration. To request a speaker for your program, click here.
Communities and organizations can also order branded Wyoming women’s suffrage products to incorporate at their next event. For more information, visit wyomingwomenssuffragestore.travelwyoming.com.
To help travelers plan their next Wyoming getaway, Wyoming has compiled a list of official events celebrating Wyoming women and the anniversary throughout the year. Request to add an event on the official events page by clicking here, filling out the proposal form and submitting the proposal. Travelers and communities are also encouraged to use #ThatsWYWomen to share their experiences on social and to gather inspiration around others’ anniversary celebrations.
Significant Dates for 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. Keep in mind these significant dates while planning celebrations of women’s suffrage:
Dec 10, 2019 - 150th Anniversary of Governor Campbell signing the Women’s Suffrage Act into law officially making Wyoming the first place in the U.S. granting women their inherent right to vote, to serve on a jury or to hold public office without restriction (i.e. without property, ownership, monetary or marital requirements).
Jan 27, 2020 - 100th anniversary of State of Wyoming ratifying the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
July 10, 2020 - 130th Anniversary of Statehood Day - Wyoming enters the Union as the 44th state and the only state to have a Suffrage Act ratified into their state constitution.
Aug 18, 2020 - 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, thus making women’s suffrage legal in all of the U.S.
Sept 6, 2020 - 150th Anniversary of the Women’s First Vote - In Laramie, Wyoming, Louisa Swain became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under new democratically enacted suffrage laws.
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. In 1890, Wyoming officially entered the Union as the 44th state and the first state to grant women these inherent 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.