Leaders celebrate a century of women’s right to vote
November 9, 2010
NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 9, 2010
A century ago, Washington voters — all of them men — voted almost two-to-one to grant women the right to vote.
The decisive vote ended a 50-year battle for equal rights and marked the start of a century of women’s leadership in Washington.
King County Council members recognized the milestone Monday, and proclaimed the day as Washington Women’s Suffrage Centennial Day in King County.
“It is a source of pride for our county and state that we were and continue to be leaders for involving women equally in civic life,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative and a former state legislator, said in a statement.
Washington became the fifth state in the union to enact women’s suffrage — almost 10 years before women won the right to vote nationwide upon the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Tennessee became the deciding state to ratify.
“For 12 years, from 1993 to 2004, Washington state ranked No. 1 in the nation for the percentage of women legislators,” Lambert said. “I had the honor of serving in the state House of Representatives during this period, when women made up more than 40 percent of the Legislature,” Lambert said. “This opportunity for women came about because of one man who cast the deciding vote in the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment — Harry T. Burn, of the Tennessee General Assembly — all at the request of his mother.”
Leaders in Olympia also marked the centennial Monday at the state Capitol. The celebration included costumed “suffragettes” and a reenactment of a suffrage statute legal challenge from territorial days.
State Senate Republicans also inducted female leaders to into a Senate exhibit highlighting women in government. State Sen. Cheryl Pflug, the Issaquah representative, dedicated the exhibit.
Pflug reflected on the Olympia celebration and the milestone of women winning the right to vote in a newspaper op-ed piece.