It is an amazing anniversary, one that no one in Washington should permit to go by without notice. This Monday, the state celebrated its "Day of Jubilation," the 100th anniversary of the state extending voting rights to women.
Our state's gentlemanly and history-minded Secretary of State Sam Reed had this to say about our remarkable milestone:
"We are delighted to honor the women of Washington and to take note of the strong vote by the male voters of all our counties back in 1910 to approve our women's suffrage amendment.
"We were the fifth state in the union to adopt women's suffrage, a full 10 years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed. Our vote, which came after a long, hard-fought battle over many years, was a signal achievement and helped spur the suffrage movement across the country. California and Oregon quickly followed our vote.
"In the last hundred years, women have become true leaders in government, business and labor organizations, non-profit and community organizations, education, athletics, home life and every sector of our society."
As historian Shanna Stevenson notes in her new book, "Women's Votes, Women's Voices: The Campaign for Equal Rights in Washington," our state's action in 1910 helped set the stage for the nationwide movement to recognize women as full citizens in American life.
Washington's move was "a pivotal event in a revitalized national suffrage movement," Stevenson says. "Along with their counterparts in other primarily Western states, Washington women played an important role in advocating for what would become the 19th Amendment ... They not only gained a voice in self-government, but also made their mark in the great human struggle for equal rights."
We have a female governor, two female U.S. senators, the Third Congressional District will soon have a female U.S. representative. The chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court is a woman. Women play key roles in the Legislature and another was just elected to the Pacific County Board of Commissioners.
What a grand record of achievement all this is. Along with countless other women serving in leadership roles at every level of government, the fact that women can vote is absolutely essential to our democracy.
And to think that all this has happened in just the past century! Washington women and the men who love them have a lot to be proud of.