Washington Leads the Way

1883: Washington territory grants women voting rights, making it the third territory with women's suffrage, after Wyoming and Utah.

1888: All-male territorial Supreme Court revokes women's voting rights, saying they conflict with federal law

1910: Washington becomes the fifth state in the nation to enact women's suffrage.

1911: An eight-hour workday for Washington women (except in fruit and fish canneries) is adopted; federal law for men and women is not phased in until 1940.

1913: Minimum wage established for women; national law follows in 1938.

1943: Equal pay for equal work becomes law; federal version passed in 1963.

1970: Washington is the fourth state to broadly legalize abortion beyond special cases such as when a woman's life is endangered—three years before Roe v. Wade established a nationwide constitutional right to abortion.

1986: Washington state workers, mostly women, receive more than $500 million in the largest comparable worth settlement in the U.S.

1993: Washington leads the nation in percentage of women in the state Legislature from 1993-2004, including 40.8 percent in 1999, then a record. (Washington ranks 4th in 2019 with 40.1%.)

2003: Women account for a majority of Washington Supreme Court justices. Only Minnesota had a majority of female justices sooner.

2004: First state with a woman governor (Chris Gregoire) and two women U.S. Senators (Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray) at the same time.

2017: Fifth state to enact a paid leave law for workers welcoming a new child. Funded by employees and employers, the law takes effect in 2020.

Washington Leads the Way

Emma Smith Devoe, leading suffragist. Tacoma Public Library

Washington Leads the Way

Votes for Women, Vol 1, No. 11, December 1910, Washington Equal Suffrage Association

Washington Leads the Way

Alice Lord, lobbied for eight-hour day. The Spokane Press

Washington Leads the Way

Nena Jolidon Croake, minimum wage advocate. Washington State Archives

Washington Leads the Way

Maria Cantwell, Chris Gregoire, Patty Murray. U.S. Senate