The History of Women’s Rights in Seattle, WA

The history of women’s rights in Seattle, WA is quite complex, and we have tried to encapsulate the information for all the curious ones right here. The city of Seattle came into existence in 1869, and it was many years later in 1878 that Women’s suffrage bill was introduced in Congress. In 1881, the Territorial Legislature allowed married women the right to own, will or sell a property, and also allowed women to keep their wages. In the same year, women were given the right to vote by the territorial legislature.

In 1890, first women were appointed to the Seattle Library Commission, and three years later the first woman was hired by the Seattle Police Department. In 1910, the women were given a right to vote by state constitutional amendment. Then in 1918, the first woman was welcomed on Seattle’s Board of Park Commissioners. In 1924, first women were elected to City Council.

In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act which allowed men and women to earn equally for jobs that needed equal skills, and effort while having the same responsibilities. The long wait ended in 1964 as the Civil Rights Act prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sex or race.

In 1970, Women Commission and Women Division were created, and Barbara Yanick was appointed as the first woman in Municipal Court in Seattle. Fortunately for women, in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the Senate. In 1973, the Office of Women’s Rights was created, and The Fair Employment Ordinance was also passed.

In 1977, the first woman firefighter was hired, in 1980, an ordinance was passed to prohibit discriminatory practices in regard to employment. To protect the families, the Family Violence Project was created in 1985, and child abuse cases were included in the same.

In 1993, The Office of Civil Rights was created, and in 2002, the Seattle Women’s Commission hosted its first ever Seattle Women’s Summit.

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