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How The West Was First In Women's Suffrage

Henry "Hy" Mayer - Puck Magazine, February 20, 1915, pp. 14-15 Cornell University: Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection
Public Domain
Lady Liberty, wearing a cape labeled "Votes for Women," stands astride the states (colored white) that had adopted suffrage. A poem by Alice Duer Miller is printed beneath.

University Showcase 3/20, 8a: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States.

But for women in the Wyoming Territory that right came in 1869. On this episode, we explore the history of women's suffrage in the West and in New Mexico.

We talk about the long, strange trip that resulted in women in Wyoming being enfranchised so early and why that was deeply intertwined with race and colonization with Virginia Scharff, distinguished professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico.

Also we talk about how women’s suffrage played out in New Mexico and how Hispanic women played a key role in that change with Marcy Botwick. She’s a library information specialist with the College of University Libraries and Learning Services and she’s one of several researchers who created an exhibit at Zimmerman Library on suffrage in New Mexico.

Because of the corona virus pandemic, the library and exhibit are currently closed, but a digital humanities project, "And Yet She Persisted," explores women's history in New Mexico. That includes a history of women's suffrage in the state, and biographies of New Mexico women.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.