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Washington State Women In History
Washington State Women In History

Sarah Yesler
Sarah Yesler moved to Seattle with her husband, Henry in the mid-1800s. She was not only of service to her community by feeding sawmill workers, but was an active member of her husband's family business. She also was a leader of the suffrage movement, a founding member of the Seattle Library Association, and the Ladies Relief Society.

Fay Fuller
Not only was she a teacher, but she was the first woman to summit Mount Rainier in 1890.

Nettie Craig Asberry
Musician, teacher, and civil rights activist, Nettie was a founding member of the Tacoma NAACP. 
She also organized the Clover Leaf Art Club for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909. The club was a place to build a network and sense of community for those who enjoyed handiwork as well as philanthropy. The Nettie Asberry Cultural Club was formed in her honor in the city of Tacoma - it promotes Black history in Tacoma schools. May 11, 1969 was proclaimed as Nettie Asberry Day in Tacoma, WA.

Reba Hurn
Reba Turn was the first woman elected to the Washington State Senate in 1923.

Dorothy Hollingsworth
Born in North Carolina, Dorothy was the first Black woman elected to the Seattle's School Board, and was the first director of Seattle's Head Start Program in Seattle Public Schools. She was also a consultant for Sesame Street Deputy Director of Planning for the Seattle Model Cities Program, was a member of the Central Area Civil Rights Committee, and was ultimately elected to the State Board of Education. Dorothy was a leading activist for desegregated busing in the 1960s. 

Regina Malveaux
Executive Director of the Washington State Women’s Commission, Regina Malveaux was appointed by Governor Inslee. "The Commission seeks to improve the lives of every woman in the state of Washington by ensuring equitable opportunities and removing systemic barriers of any kind" (JD Supra). She had a leadership role at the YWCA of Spokane, and taught as an Adjunct Professor in Political, Women’s, and African American studies at San Diego State University. 

Gertrude Dawson
Gertrude Dawson was one of the first and founding members of the Mary Mahoney Registered Nurses Club in Seattle in 1949. They provided support for students of color pursuing a nursing career. She negotiated the highest monthly salary increase ($45 a month) that nurses in Washington had ever received at that time (The Seattle Times).

Amy Hood
Hood is the Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft. She is the first woman to hold this role. 

Melinda Gates
Considered one of the most powerful women in the world according to Forbes Magazine, Melinda Gates is a computer scientist, founding member of the philanthropic Gates Foundation, and is the General Manager at Microsoft.

Megan Rapinoe
Born in Redding, CA and University of Portland grad, Megan Rapinoe played for the Seattle Reign FC and went on to lead the United States Women's National Team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Jean Enersen
She started working for KING-5 news in the late 1960s, and became one of the first women on the air. Among her accolades include being the first local tv reporter in China as diplomatic relations were restored in the late 1970s, being the first local reporter to travel with the Gates Foundation to Africa, she was the first American to host "Asia Now," and was First Chair of the NW AIDS Walk and produced a documentary called Sexual Survival, which became the station's highest rated documentary (

Sue Bird
New York native and UCONN grad Sue Bird was the WNBA First Round Draft Pick in 2002 and currently plays for the Seattle Storm. She is a four-time WNBA Champion, is an Olympic gold medalist, and was named last year to the WNBA's W25 Team, recognizing the 25 greatest players in league history during their 25th anniversary (Women's National Basketball Association). 


Thumbnail courtesy of Lady Lancers.

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