The history of women’s representation in New York
Suffragists march down Fifth Avenue in October 1917, displaying placards containing the signatures of more than 1 million New York women demanding the right to vote. (The New York Times/Redux)
Almost 100 years ago, on Nov. 6, 1917, women won the right to vote in New York. That meant having to convince New York voters – all men, at the time – to support the cause. Today, women are still underrepresented in just about every level of government, both in New York and on the national level. Here’s a look at how far women in New York have come in the past century – and how much further they need to go.
1848 – The first women’s rights convention in the country is held in Seneca Falls, New York. A group of attendees sign the Declaration of Sentiments, which was written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, declaring equal rights for women. (Pictured: Stanton, left, and Susan B. Anthony.)
1914 – Katharine Bement Davis is appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, becoming the first woman to lead a city agency.
1915 – The first referendum is held to decide whether women should be given the right to vote in New York state, but the measure fails.
1917 – The second referendum on women’s suffrage in New York is held, and this time, it passes.
1919 – Mary Lilly and Ida Sammis become the first women to serve in the Assembly.
1920 – The 19th Amendment is ratified, giving women the right to vote across the U.S.
1929 – Ruth Pratt becomes the first woman from New York to serve in the House of Representatives.
1935 – Rhoda Fox Graves is the first woman to serve in the state Senate.
1938 – Genevieve Earle becomes the first woman in the New York City Council.
1969 – Shirley Chisholm of New York becomes the first black woman to serve in Congress.
1972 – Chisholm is the first black American to run for president of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
1974 – Mary Anne Krupsak becomes the first female lieutenant governor in New York.
1984 – Geraldine Ferraro, a representative from Queens, becomes the first female major party nominee on a presidential ticket as the Democratic nominee for vice president.
1993 – Judith Kaye, who was appointed the first female judge on the New York State Court of Appeals in 1983, is named the first female chief judge of the state’s highest court.
American Judicial Society
2001 – Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate from New York.
2006 – Christine Quinn becomes the first woman and first openly gay member to serve as speaker of the New York City Council.
2012 – Andrea Stewart-Cousins becomes the first woman to lead a party conference in the state Legislature.
2016 – Clinton becomes the first woman to be nominated by a major party for president.