There's an ongoing debate in the American West about which state granted women the right to vote first. Wyoming ratified the decision first…in 1869 but didn't vote until the fall of the next year. But Utah women actually went to the polls seven months earlier than that. But either way, it was Western states that made the leap… and a new book called No Place For A Woman: The Struggle for Suffrage in the Wild West explores what it was about Western women that made them such suffragists. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards interviewed the book's author Chris Enss.
In Wyoming history, women have won only 133 legislative races. Since about half the state is made up of women, it means they seriously lack representation. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck says the problem has been talked about for years.
Even though women were allowed to run for office and get involved in politics in 1870, it took much longer after that for women of color to get elected. Wyoming Public Radio's Naina Rao reports.
As we focus on suffrage in Wyoming, we are taking this opportunity to preview a new podcast that Wyoming Public Media and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West are in the process of creating. The Kids Ask Why podcast amplifies the voices of kids who want to ask questions. And it turns out Wyoming kids want to know about women's suffrage as well. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck talks to the podcasts producer Kamila Kudelska.
Men continue to dominate the American media landscape. According to a 2019 Women's Media Center report, men have a higher share of bylines, credit and hold more leadership positions. But in Sheridan, Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler reports the head of the local newspaper is leading by example.
In 1869, journalism looked very different than it does today. There weren't the quotes or perspectives from both sides. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim dug into the archives to try and use journalism to learn more about women's suffrage. What he found wasn't much, but found out it was critical. Jennifer Helton, a Wyoming native and expert in the state's suffrage history, gives some background to the state was like in 1869 and how she used journalism to learn more about it.
One hundred years ago the first all women town council was elected in the state. The town of Jackson was just six years old. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska looks at how the petticoat rulers influenced today's Jackson Hole women political leaders.
The University of Wyoming's student government, also known as ASUW, has historically been male-dominated. This year, two women were elected to President and Vice President. That may be for the first time ever. But there's no way to know, since ASUW records don't always account for gender. Wyoming Public Radio's Maggie Mullen spoke with President Riley Talamantes and Vice President Courtney Titus about what it was like to be one of the few, if only, two-women tickets to win the election.
The legal right to vote doesn't always translate to the ability to vote. There can be barriers to the polls, says Susan Simpson, the president of the League of Women Voters of Wyoming. That's a nonpartisan organization that provides information on political candidates and works for higher participation in the political process. Simpson talked with Wyoming Public Radio's Erin Jones about how Wyoming measures up when it comes to voting access.