Women of the Wild West

By: Delaney, R.J., Mayra, and Caitlin

Facts and Statistics


* For thousands of enterprising females, the Wild West afforded the opportunity to make some money, and even to claim unprecedented legal rights.

*Evidence proves the first woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives (Montana’s Jeannette Rankin), the first woman governors of states (Nellie Taylor Ross of Wyoming and Miriam Ferguson of Texas), and the first woman mayor of a major city (Seattle’s Bertha Knight Landes) all hailed from the West.

* Western women were encouraged to identify and hold property in their own name, so families could increase their family's holdings. This led to some women running ranches and farms by themselves, including supervising male employees.


* Between 1880 and 1910, it is distinguished that the increase of music teachers rose considerably from 42 to 61 percent, granting middle-and upper-class women as the “chief promoters of culture.

* It was permitted in the early 1900's, however, to have women participate in ragtime and vaudeville bands as primarily pianists and composers.

*The women’s bronc riding was scratched from Pendleton, and by 1941 the event was banned from all major competitions, including Madison Square Garden.

Famous Quotations

"I shall not consent to be tried under a law in which my sex had no voice in making.”- Pearl Hart

“I am a friend to any brave and gallant outlaw.”- Belle Starr

“God intended women to be outside as well as men, and they do not know what they are missing when they stay cooped up in the house.”- Annie Oakley

Notable Women of the West

Women's Significance in the West

Many women were left behind by their husbands, and had to develop a new life in the Wild West. These women in the west had many different opportunities bestowed upon them, and they had to make the most out of it. New common occupations of women were gamblers, prostitutes, artists, prospectors, actresses, and even musicians. Women's main role was no longer cooking, cleaning, and childcare. Women's lives had a new purpose, and new chances for them to be a whole new person in the Wild West, and most of these women demonstrated just that.


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