Women win school suffrage on March 27, 1890.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 12/08/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 469

On March 27, 1890, Governor Elisha P. Ferry signs the School Suffrage Act into law. The act enfranchises women to vote in local school district elections, but not for state or county superintendents.

In 1894, Ella Guptil won election as Clallam County Superintendent of Schools. The next year the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that legalized her position.

In 1900, seven women served as county superintendents. Julia Kennedy served as Seattle's first female superintendent of schools. Washington's public schools employed 1,033 male teachers at an average monthly salary of $42.13 and 2,288 female teachers at an average monthly salary of $34.53.


Mildred Tanner Andrews, Washington Women as Path Breakers (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1989), 3; History of Woman Suffrage, 1883-1900 Vol. 4, ed. by Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (New York: Arno, [1902] 1969), 977-79; T. A. Larson, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Washington," Pacific Northwest Quarterly Vol. 67, No. 2 (April, 1976), 42.

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