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The great state of Wyoming has a long and proud history with women’s rights. Most folks don’t know that, I’ve found. Why that is, I’m not sure. I guess it could be that since Wyoming is known as a fairly rough-and-tumble western state, rich with cowboy and western heritage, a place known for its strong men of solid character, that many from the east just thought that a woman really didn’t have much chance there, except as a wife and mother. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Our society would be little without mothers.
Wyoming, as a matter of fact, was a leader in women’s rights and opportunities. For example, in 1890, when Wyoming became a state, it took the motto, “Equality State.” Women’s suffrage was at the top of the chart for the good people of Wyoming.
During the push that led to the women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution, two Wyoming residents decided it would be nice if a woman were recognized for having something to do with Wyoming’s pioneering statute. Even back as far as 1870, they chose Ester Morris to serve as justice of the peace of South Pass City, making her not only our nation’s first woman judge, but the first women justice of the peace in the world.
And before you give too much credit to the wrong people, you might also want to know that it was members of the more conservative Republican party who not only appointed Ester, but did something else to change Wyoming’s history, and the history of the entire country.
You may or may not remember that Wyoming is famous for something else related to women. It was the very first state to give women the right to vote. Yeah, that quiet, reserved state out west, was in fact far ahead of the rest of the country on women’s issues, even to the point of being the first to allow women to vote. But, perhaps not for the obvious reason.
No, It’s a Little Known Fact that recent in-depth studies indicate that the men of Wyoming had something of an ulterior motive to their somewhat liberal slant. You see, Wyoming was known for one more thing, something that the men of Wyoming wanted to change, and change quickly! The state was woefully short of women. Yeah, men outnumbered women about 100 to 1 at the time, and the state fathers, well, it was only too obvious to them that the way to attract more women to the state was to give them more rights and freedom.
And you know what? It worked! Just thought you’d like to know.