Change Agents: Major Moments for Women in Colorado’s Political History

September 28 2012, 12:55 PM

1876 The Colorado Women Suffrage Association is founded and Centennial State women win suffrage in local school elections.

1893 Colorado women can legally go to the voting booth, a full 27 years before the nation follows suit. Eliza Routt was the first registered female voter in Colorado.

1900 By this year, Colorado had elected 10 women to the House of Representatives.

1913 Helen Ring Robinson becomes the first woman to serve as a state senator in Colorado.

1920 The 19th Amendment is ratified, which ensured that no one would be denied the right to vote based on sex.

1953 Helen Louise White Peterson moves from Denver to Washington, D.C. to become the first Native American woman director of the National Congress of American Indians.

1965 Rachel B. Noel is elected to the Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education. She is the first African American female in Colorado elected to a public office.

1972 Arie Taylor becomes the first African American woman elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives; she serves six terms.

1973 Pat Schroeder* is the first female elected to Congress in Colorado and is the second-youngest woman ever elected to that body. Schroeder went on to serve Colorado’s first district until 1997. (She also ran for president in 1988.)

1998 Gail Schoettler runs for governor and loses to Bill Owens by fewer than 8,000 votes.

2003-2004 Norma Anderson serves as the first female senate majority leader in Colorado.

2010 Crisanta Duran becomes the youngest Latina legislator in Colorado history at 30 years old.

2011 Colorado has more female legislators (about 40 percent) than any other state.

We want to add to this list! Please tell us more about Colorado’s women in politics in the comments below.

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*Patricia "Pat" Schroeder As the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado, Pat Schroeder headed to Washington in 1973 with two small children and a new wave of politics that focused on childcare, education, and other family-based issues. During her years in office, she was known for her quick-wit and one-liners (she nicknamed Ronald Reagan the “Teflon President”). She even ran a spirited 1988 presidential campaign before her tearful withdrawal drew the ire of critics and inspired a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Still, her career set a precedent and since her first campaign, Colorado has always had at least one female representative in D.C.   

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Read The Contender: Could state Senator Morgan Carroll become Colorado's first female governor? (October, 2012)

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