Event Celebrates History Of Women's Suffrage In Utah

Sep 11, 2018

Dalloway Smith and Gwyneth Park sell artwork at the Better Days 2020 event.
Credit Matilyn Mortensen

Looking to the past is one Utah organization’s way of trying to direct the future for women in the state. Better Days 2020 is a group based on celebrating the role Utah women played during the suffrage movement.

Dalloway Smith and Gwyneth Park are both 10 years old.

“I’ve learned about Emmeline B. Wells,” Smith said. “She was the friend of Susan B. Anthony.”

“Seraph Young was the first to vote as a woman,” Park said.

“They inspire me to act more than just think about doing it,” Smith.

“Everyone should be able to help choose the president and everyone should be able to have the same rights as men,” Park said.

Dressed in pioneer clothing, Smith and Park volunteered at an event Friday in Salt Lake City hosted by Better Days 2020.

“There’s still a little trouble with including everybody and discrimination,” Smith said. “I think people need to know that we did this before and we need to inform people that these women were heroes and that we can lead the way too.”

Mixing the past with the present, people dressed in period clothing shared stories about how their character helped women in Utah gain the right to vote. Representatives from different organizations shared resources for things like helping women run for office or obtain a higher education.

Jacquelynn Sokol attended the event with her family.

“People don’t know the strength of Utah women,” Sokol said. “They don’t know the history. Knowing the history really does form the future. This will empower not only our girls but our boys.”

Becky Edwards serves in the Utah House of Representatives.

“Important things and big things often start with just small steps,” Edwards said.

During the event, she was reminded of the story of Seraph Young, the first woman to vote legally in the United States. More than 20 women voted alongside Young. By the time of the general election a few months later, over 2,000 women voted.

“We cannot be deterred by the smallness of the beginning of a movement,” Edwards said. “We must have confidence knowing that the tsunami of support for all the good things that we fight for today and in the past will come.”

Correction-- An earlier version of the story said more than 60 women voted alongside Young. The story as been corrected to more than 20.