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 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 established
  • 1973: Fair Employment Ordinance (102562) passed, specifying employers may not discriminate based on sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • 1975: Housing Ordinance (Ordinance 104839) passed, prohibiting discrimination with respect to housing
  • 1977: First woman firefighter hired: Bonnie Beers
  • 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 was expanded to include child abuse cases
  • 1993: 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
  • 2019: Resolution 31900 passed unanimously, addressing the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women by holding City departments accountable for engaging with Seattle's urban Indian community and improving data collection


Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.