Oregon women celebrate suffrage Centennial

Oregon women celebrate suffrage Centennial

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by Erica Heartquist

Bio | Email | Follow: @EricaHeartquist

kgw.com

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 6 at 7:26 AM

With all the election talk, did you know Monday marked an important anniversary in Oregon?

One hundred years ago on November 5, 1912 Oregon became the seventh state in the union to give women the right to vote.

Since then, Oregon voters have elected a female governor, Barbara Roberts.

Oregon women have served as judges. They've gone to the United States House and the United States Senate. They have been elected mayor. Oregon women have climbed Mount Everest and they have orbited the earth.

At least some credit for those accomplishments belongs to Abigail Scott Duniway, said local historians.

In 1912, Duniway signed Oregon's suffrage proclamation and became the first woman to cast a ballot in Oregon's history after fighting to give Oregon women the right to vote for nearly thirty years.

"We had a woman elected into the house and a woman elected into the senate in the very first election after women secured the right to vote," said Laura Coyle with Emerge Oregon.

Then, in 1920, all American women celebrated their right to vote in the streets of the nation's capital.

With the election one day away, women voters reminded us all to cast our ballots.

"We are important in this election because women are being targeted. It's very important for women to vote and we have not had the vote for very long," said Portland voter, Bev Humphrey.

Women in the mid-19th century couldn't vote, own property, control money or have legal claim to their children.

"I do acknowledge that a lot of people have suffered to get to where we are today, whether it's people of color or women to vote," said another Portland voter, Deb Reitenour.

Portland resident Barbara Frank shared similar sentiments.

"More women are informed now. More women are out in the work force and they're more informed about issues," said Frank.

Oregon has elected five women to the United States Congress since statehood. Seventeen percent of women make up the U.S. Congress.

"Women as a voting block and as a demographic of candidates are being taken seriously. It is really nice for us to see," said Coyle.

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