Women’s Equality Day Resources

by Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

woman holding up a protest sign
image courtesy of pexels.com

Today is Women’s Equality Day. It recognizes the date 100 years ago when Congress ratified the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. Like many organizations, we wanted to partake in an in-person celebration. COVID-19 postponed or cancelled many planned events throughout the state.

In lieu of a face-to-face celebration, we’ve put together a list of websites and resources available about Women’s Equality Day and voting.

We also invite you to view the video of our May 2020 virtual meeting, featuring Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s and her presentation on the history of women’s suffrage in Washington state. The video can be viewed in our archived videos section on the ICSEW Facebook page. A copy of the PowerPoint can be viewed here.


2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative: This interactive website has quizzes where you can test your suffrage knowledge, take a look at state and local suffrage projects, view video of suffrage performers, view a suffrage book list and more.

National Women’s History Alliance: Their website has a sample proclamation for Women’s Equality Day, ideas for celebrating Women’s Equality Day, an online exhibit, sharable graphics and historical information and resources.

Votesmart.org: Track your legislators. A searchable database on their biographies, issue positions, voting records, public statements, ratings and their funders.

women suffragists in Washington state putting up signs on a fence
image from Washington State Historical Society


Washington State Historical Society: Free virtual exhibits, photo galleries and curricula about women’s suffrage in Washington state. Also has a blog featuring 57 biographical sketches of Washington suffragists.

Office of the Secretary of State: Register to vote, current election information, see who has filed to run for office, learn about vote by mail and more.

History of suffrage for women in BIPOC Communities

The ICSEW recognizes that although the constitution granted women the right to vote, there were laws and practices throughout U.S. history that disenfranchised women BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) communities. Many who were part of these communities were prevented from voting and could not do so until years later.

The following article features a timeline of historical events and who actually got to vote when.

Who Got to Vote When?





May Meeting 2020 Recap

Kim Wyman using Zoon Application
Secretary of State Kim Wyman talks to ICSEW members during the ICSEW’s first ever virtual meeting on Zoom and Facebook Live. Photo by Rachel Friederich

Kim Wyman, Women’s Suffrage Centennial and Mentorship Pilot Update

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

The women of our grandmothers’ time lived in a very small and narrow sphere, but civilization has advanced by many leaps and bounds. Now Washington can prove to the world the greatness of our evergreen state is not determined by the number of acres it contains or its population, but by the characters of its men and women who today are extending to all women of America the privilege of the a ballot.

 –Frances Haskell, first women elected to Washington State House of Representatives on ratification of the 19th amendment granting women’s right to vote

Secretary of State Kim Wyman was moved to tears as she read the quote by Frances Haskell, the first woman elected to Washington State’s House of Representatives during the ICSEW’s first ever virtual meeting May 19.

“It gets me teary every time I read that quote because it was those powerhouse women who got to serve in the legislature because the men and women in Washington state in 1910 had the foresight to say, ‘you know what? Women should have the right to vote,’” Wyman said. “Women have held almost every elected position in the state because of Frances Haskell.

Wyman’s presentation “Ahead of the Curve: Voting, Leadership, and Women: Historical Insights and Contemporary Implications,” highlighted significant women in Washington State’s History and looked at events of the state’s ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The year 2020 marks the centennial of women’s suffrage.

ICSEW members attended the meeting via Zoom and Facebook live. In addition to talking about women’s suffrage in Washington state, Wyman also answered questions submitted via Zoom Chat and Facebook Live. She talked about the address confidentiality program, which keeps addresses of victims of domestic violence, stalking, trafficking and sexual assault from public records.

Wyman also talked about innovations Washington state has taken in a vote-by-mail system. Wyman noted that Washington is one of only five states in the nation that is entirely vote by mail and the Secretary of State’s Office has worked with partner agencies such as the FBI and Homeland security to ensure the integrity and protection of the elections as critical infrastructure.

Wyman also answered questions about who were ‘powerhouse women’ who have inspired her career. She talked about her maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were both single mothers in the 1940s who had been in abusive relationships. They both got divorced. “They were single women in a time when women were not single,” Wyman said.

“They both realized this was not the future they wanted for their children….They had the fortitude to work hard and instill that in their children and grandchildren. When I look back on those foundational elements and tie it back in with people li9ke Billie Jean King and Title IX, Title IX taught me to compete and gave me the keys to the workforce. I’m very proud of that family.”

A video of the meeting can be viewed on the videos page on the ICSEW Facebook A copy of Wyman’s presentation is available on our Minutes and Materials page.

 Mentorship Program

After the presentation, Mentorship Subcommittee Chair Josefina Magana gave an update on the ICSEW mentorship pilot. The subcommittee is exploring virtual ways to proceed with the mentorship program, in light of the governor’s Stay, Home Stay Healthy Order. She said the mentorship subcommittee is still looking for around ten state employees to serve as mentors to other state employees in the pilot. If you are interested send an email to Stacy Hiatt by June 5, 2020. stacy.hiatt@oah.wa.gov. For more information, please visit the Mentorship Pilot Program page.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman to Present at ICSEW’s VIRTUAL Meeting May 19

woman beside laptop
photo courtesy of Unsplash

ICSEW is gearing up for its May meeting and we’re meeting virtually!

In these uncertain times, ICSEW board members feel that it’s even more important to be able to continue providing professional development training.  We’ve decided to switch to a virtual format for the next few meeting to allow us to safely engage with our members and the public.  We’ll be conducting meetings via Zoom. You’ll still need to register through EventBrite. After you register through EventBrite, you’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to join the meeting. Registration is limited to 100 participants, so sign up early!

Presentation: Ahead of the Curve, Voting, Leadership and Women: Historical Insights and Contemporary Implications

portrait of Kim Wyman
Secretary of State Kim Wyman

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman will be presenting Ahead of the Curve, Voting, Leadership and Women: Historical Insights and Contemporary Implications. 2020 is the centennial of the women’s suffrage movement. Come learn about Washington’s history of suffrage and women in our state who paved the way.

Secretary Wyman is Washington’s 15th Secretary of State. First elected in 2012, she is serving her second term and is only the second female Secretary of State in Washington’s history. Prior to being elected to this office, she served as Thurston County Elections Director for nearly a decade and was elected Thurston County Auditor from 2001-2013.

Following Secretary Wyman’s presentation, we will highlight ICSEW’s mentorship program as well as discuss the future of our membership meetings. ICSEW has decided to switch to a virtual meeting format for the next few meetings to be able to safely continue providing personal and professional development opportunities to our membership, during this uncertain time We’ll be sharing more details on what our new operating procedures will look like. We look forward to hearing and seeing you at the meeting!

Want to learn more about ICSEW? Check out our website: https://icsew.wa.gov/

Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/icsew-meeting-may-19-2020-virtual-registration-103856284944

Women’s History Month: How State Employed Women Have Impacted Our State’s History

womens history month

By Amal Joury, ICSEW Chair

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I want to encourage you to reflect on the work  the newly-formed Blacks United In Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) business resource group ICSEW does and continues to do.

Since before Washington gained its statehood from a territory in 1889 to now—women have been making an impact in government and laws regarding gender equity in all aspects of society. ICSEW is no exception.

Women’s History Month began as a celebration of Women’s History Week, the week of March 8th. In 1987, Congress passed a law designating March as Women’s History Month.

This year marks the centennial of the 19th amendment, which legalized the right to vote for United States citizens regardless of gender. Thus, the national theme for this year’s Women’s History Month, set by the National Alliance for Women’s History, is “Valiant Women of the Vote”. After decades of lobbying and fighting for women suffrage, women secured the right to vote on August 18, 1920 when the 19th amendment was ratified in the United States.

The fight for suffrage would not have been successful without women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Sojourner Truth and numerous lesser known women, like Harriet Forten Purvis, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren, Zitkála-Šá, and more. Visit the Exhibit at the Library of Congress to learn more about the long battle women waged to secure the right to vote.

(Editor’s Note: The Washington State Historical Society, is hosting programs in communities throughout the state this year to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage, and has several free online exhibits and curricula, and offers some ways you can get involved. Visit https://www.suffrage100wa.com/ for more information.)

As part of the continued legacy of women fighting for their right to vote, and for equal participation in all facets of life, Washington’s former governor, Albert Rosellini, created the first iteration of the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, in 1963 in response to President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women.  This national commission was established to investigate questions regarding women’s equality in education, the workplace and under the law.

Washington state’s subsequent governors continued this work.  ICSEW expanded to include representation from educational institutes and the judicial system in Washington. In 2006, ICSEW was opened to representation from all state agencies and institutes of higher education.

Most recently, Gov. Jay Inslee reaffirmed ICSEW via Executive Order 16-04 – committing his administration’s support to improving the lives of state employed women.

Part of ICSEW’s mission is examining and defining issues that pertain to the rights and needs of women employed in state government and to make policy recommendations to the governor and state agencies with respect to desirable changes in programs, polices, and laws especially in the area of education, training, career development and other conditions of employment.

ICSEW is also given the authority to advise state agencies on the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated policies, plans and programs focusing on the special issues and needs of women in state government.

Please join BUILD and ICSEW in celebrating Women’s History Month by taking time to learn and reflect on our collective national past, honor the sacrifices made by the scores of women before us, celebrate their hard won successes, and create visibility around the gaps that remain. There is still a lot of work to be done to bring us all closer to equality.

For a comprehensive look at ICSEW history, visit our About page.

To subscribe to BUILD’s mailing list, click here: Join our Mailing List

Megan Matthews, BUILD chair also contributed to this article.