Colorado Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote

2020 marks the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the US.  In January, then Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order, his last in office, creating the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission to commemorate 100 years since women were granted the right to vote.


photo credit: A Colorado billboard, circa 1910-1920. Credit: History Colorado.


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    Colorado Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote KGNU News

The Commission is chaired by History Colorado Chairperson Cathey M. Finlon, who says the Commission has the following goals:

Governor John Hickenlooper signing the executive order creating the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission on January 3, 2019. Credit: History Colorado
  • To educate multi-generational audiences through special events and outreach in all 64 Colorado counties
  • To illuminate the contributions of women in Colorado’s history
  • To call attention to Colorado’s important role in the national movement for the women’s vote
  • To build new knowledge around this topic and inspire new research

Finlon says that Colorado was well ahead of the rest of the country in granting women the right to vote.

“Colorado became a state in 1876 and in 1877 there was an effort to have women get the right to vote, that failed miserably by a 2/3 vote. We just weren’t ready as a state with a number of things. So over a period up until 1893 a number of groups were formed across the state. Ranching groups that women participated in, mining support groups, people helping people who were in need, and so over this time period these natural associations that people participated in came to life in Colorado. By the early 1890s things were changing in Colorado. A terrible depression, recession was taking place and there were more and more women who were engaged through these associations to support people in need and families. And so what happened was there was a political group that was formed, a new party called The People’s Party, and that party took hold in our state and aligned with our women’s organizations and our women’s leadership and two governors, the one who went out of office in 1892 and the one who came into office in 1893 supported it as well. And a number of women journalists….were total leaders in communicating. So from 1876 to a failure in 1877 to 1893 was an enormous amount of work on the part of the women of Colorado and some men. And what ultimately happened was that vote passed by two thirds and that made us the first state in the United States to have given the right to vote to women by popular vote, which means that the men voted for it.”

Colorado continues to lead the country in terms of women’s participation in politics and it currently has the largest percentage of female state legislators in the nation.

History Colorado is inviting interested organizations and individuals in all 64 state counties, to join the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Collaborative – creating space and events for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support. The Collaborative is building partnerships with local museums, libraries, clubs, schools, and arts organizations in communities throughout the state as they plan suffrage-related events.

History Colorado will connect people throughout Colorado with programming and initiatives related to the history of the women’s vote. For a calendar with upcoming Collaborative meetings, please click here and scroll down. For more information about getting involved, contact The Center for Colorado Women’s History at 303-620-4933, or [email protected].


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