Massachusetts was one of the first US regions to allow married women to own and manage a property in their own name in case of incapacity of their husbands (1835).
It was a first step towards allowing economic freedom to women. It gradually developed into the 1874 historic decision to grant married women control over their earnings.
Today, the state is still far from economic gender equality – with $13,000 gender pay gap (based on AAUW 2017 data, the most recent available).
In terms of gender equality and voting rights for women, Massachusetts was historically behind – voting against women’s right to vote in 1915. The suffragists continued their struggle, and in 1919 – four years later – the State ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.
In 1925, Massachusetts elected Edith Nourse Rogers as the first woman to serve in the US House of representative, serving for 35 years.
Six more women followed her among them is Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected in 2019 from Massachusetts.
In 2013, Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren became the first female Senator from Massachusetts. She announced that she would be running for President in 2020.
On the State level, 210 women were served in the Massachusetts legislature vs. 20,000 men, slightly more than one percent.
The first women elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives were Sylvia Donaldson and Susan Fitzgerald in 1923. In 1937 Sybil Holmes (Brookline) was the first woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate.
Massachusetts had its first female governor in 2001.
Appointed at the age of 36, Jane Swift was the nation’s youngest ever female acting governor. She gave birth to twins while in office, and continued to exercise executive authority during her maternity leave.
At the local level, up until today, Boston never had a female mayor.