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Women in City Government

Seattle Women's History Timeline

  • 1869: City of Seattle incorporated

  • 1878: Women's suffrage bill introduced in Congress

  • 1881: Territorial Legislature gave married women the right to own, sell, or will property, and to keep their wages

  • 1881: Territorial Legislature gave women the vote

  • 1887: Territorial Supreme Court voided law giving women the vote

  • 1889: Washington became a state

  • 1890: First women appointed to the Seattle Library Commission

  • 1893: First woman hired by Seattle Police Department: Emma Taylor, Police Matron

  • 1910: State constitutional amendment gives women the vote

  • 1918: First woman on Seattle's Board of Park Commissioners

  • 1920: 19th Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

  • 1924: First women elected to City Council: Kathryn Miracle and Bertha Knight Landes

  • 1926: First Woman Mayor Bertha Knight Landes served one two-year term

  • 1963: Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, providing for equal pay for men and women for jobs requiring equal skill, responsibility, and effort

  • 1964: Civil Rights Act passed by the U.S. Senate prohibiting employment discrimination based on either race or sex

  • 1967: Executive Order 11375 broadened affirmative action to include sex

  • 1970: Women's Commission created and Women's Division established (Ordinance 99534)

  • 1970: First woman appointed to the Municipal Court in Seattle: Barbara Yanick

  • 1972: Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

  • 1972: The Contract Compliance Ordinance was passed (Ordinance 101541)

  • 1973: Office of Women's Rights

  • 1973: The Fair Employment Ordinance (102562) passed, specifying employers may not discriminate based on sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

  • 1975: The housing ordinance (Ordinance 104839) passed, prohibiting discrimination with respect to housing

  • 1977: First woman firefighter hired

  • 1978: Battered Women's Project established providing investigation and advocacy for misdemeanor domestic violence cases

  • 1978: Open Housing Ordinance amended to prohibit discrimination based on age or parental status

  • 1979: Affirmative Action Plan established for the City of Seattle (Ordinance 109112)

  • 1980: Ordinance 109116 prohibited discriminatory practices with respect to employment

  • 1980: Legislation passed to ensure equitable participation for women owned businesses in the City's contracting process (Ordinance 109113)

  • 1985: Battered Women's Project became Family violence Project and mandate expanded to include child abuse cases

  • 1993: The Office of Women's Rights was abolished and its functions incorporated into the Office of Civil Rights

  • 1998: Washington State Initiative 200 passed, prohibiting the imposition of goals, quotas, and set-asides in the government contracting process

  • 2002: Seattle Women's Commission hosted first Seattle Women's Summit

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