1850

While Native tribes in the area were more balanced, Portland’s white population skews disproportionately male, typical of most frontier towns: 653 men to 164 women.

1852

An 18-year-old Abigail Scott Duniway, Oregon’s future “Mother of Equal Suffrage,” arrives with her family via the Oregon Trail.

1862

Oregon allows widows with children to vote in school district elections.

1871

Duniway starts a weekly paper in Portland called the New Northwest, dedicated to women’s rights. The publication continues printing until 1887.

1873

Following a visit from national suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Oregon women found the Oregon Woman Suffrage Association to advance their right to vote in all elections.

1878

A new state law allows unmarried women to vote in school district elections.

1881

Missourian Bethenia Owens-Adair completes her medical degree and sets up a private practice in Portland, becoming Oregon’s first female physician.

1887

The wives of some of the most prominent men in Portland launch the Portland Women’s Union (later the Portland Women’s Foundation) to provide a safe, cultured space for newly arrived single women.

1905

Local suffragists hold the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Portland to coincide with the Lewis and Clark Exposition.

1908

The US Supreme Court hands down a landmark decision in Muller v. Oregon, upholding a state law that limited women’s work hours to 10 hours per day.

1908

Lola Greene Baldwin is sworn in as Portland’s first policewoman—and the first official female law enforcement officer in any US city.

1910

Beatrice Morrow Cannady moves to Portland from Texas. A civil rights activist, Cannady goes on to be one of the first black women to graduate from law school, the editor of Advocate, and the cofounder of Oregon’s chapter of the NAACP.

1912

Oregon becomes the seventh US state to grant women the right to vote.

1914

Marian B. Towne of Jackson County becomes the first woman elected to the Oregon House of Representatives.

1921

A new law allows Oregon women to serve on juries.

1937

Democrat Nan Wood Honeyman is elected to the US House of Representatives, becoming Oregon’s first congresswoman.

1941

The United States’ entry into World War II sees women flocking to jobs in Oregon’s shipbuilding industry. By the height of the war, 30,000 women work in Portland’s shipyards.

1949

After Mayor Earl Riley is caught in a bribery and corruption scandal, city commissioner Dorothy McCullough Lee becomes the first female mayor of Portland in a landslide election win.

1950

Portland’s Beverly Cleary publishes her first children’s book, Henry Huggins. Over the next 50 years, the award-winning author writes 30 books and sells over 90 million copies worldwide.

1958

Mary Rosenberg rallies friends to pool their funds to start the Women’s Convalescent Home Association (later the Women’s Care Foundation), providing residential nursing and rehabilitative support for women.

1969

Portland writer Ursula K. Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness wins the Hugo and Nebula Awards, science fiction’s top literary prizes.

1969

Following the passage of SB 193, Oregon becomes one of the first states to legalize abortion in the first 150 days of pregnancy.

1970

After husband Neal dies, Gert Boyle takes over Columbia Sportswear and grows the company into the region’s dominant outdoor apparel company.

1981

Corvallis native Barbara Roberts becomes the first woman to serve as majority leader in the Oregon House of Representatives.

1982

Former state senator and state representative Betty Roberts is appointed as the 83rd associate justice of Oregon Supreme Court—the first woman to serve on that court.

1985

Vera Katz becomes the first woman to serve as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

1991

Barbara Roberts becomes the 34th governor of Oregon—the first (and only...for now) woman elected to that office.

1992

Vera Katz is elected as Portland’s third female mayor, serving until 2005.

1996

Avel Gordly becomes the first African American woman elected to the Oregon Senate.

2007

Bitch magazine, a publication known for its feminist commentary on popular culture, relocates from Oakland, California, to Portland.

2012

Former federal prosecutor Ellen Rosenblum becomes the first woman to serve as Oregon Attorney General.

2013

The Portland Thorns begin play in the National Women’s Soccer League, drawing over 16,000 per game—a national record.

2014 

The Portland Women’s Foundation merges with the Women’s Care Foundation to create the Women’s Foundation of Oregon.

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