In 1893 Colorado gave women the right to vote, the first time in history that women's suffrage was granted through a popular vote. The very next year voters sent three women to the state House of Representatives. They were the first women elected to any state legislative body in the world. And in recent years, Colorado has led the nation in percentage of women serving in the state legislature (in 2017, Colorado dropped from first in the nation at 42% to second at 39%, just behind Vermont.)
While Colorado women have been pioneers in holding elected office, there has never been a female Governor or US Senator from Colorado.
The elected women of Colorado were at the forefront of some of the most important historical events of the Twentieth Century, from serving as a model for the national suffrage movement to advocating, protesting and legislating on workers’ and women’s rights. Colorado's longest serving female legislator, Ruth Stockton, summed it up when she said: "When the going gets rough, they know I'm not the weak sister."
The team behind the film, Strong Sisters, has conducted 76 interviews with women who have served in the legislature and experts on women's history, western history, and gender politics. These interviews serve as the film's narration and will also serve as an oral history of Colorado's unique story for generations to come.
Laura Hoeppner, Producer, Director and Writer
Laura Hoeppner served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Legislative Women's Caucus from 2009 to 2012, researching and writing biographies of historical women who served in the Colorado General Assembly which were published on the Caucus' website and as a booklet.
Laura was a Legislative Aide at the Colorado House of Representatives and more recently worked as Community & Government Affairs Liaison for the City of Centennial, Colorado. She has over 12 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, including seven years as the Executive Director of the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training. Laura also taught history and political science at the community college level.
Laura served in elected office as a Home Rule Charter Commissioner for the City of Centennial and was appointed to the Colorado Channel Authority Board.
Laura holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University, with a certificate in Women's Studies, and a Master's degree in History from the University of Michigan.
Meg Froelich, Producer, Director and Writer
A producer for television, the Internet and multimedia, Meg Froelich has produced documentary episodes for the A&E series Biography and The Twentieth Century with Mike Wallace. She worked on PBS' American Masters and The American Experience series, as well as documentary series on education and childhood.
Meg produced the CD-ROM and DVD versions of Our Times: An Encyclopedia of the Twentieth Century which included narration by James Earl Jones and several mini-documentaries. She produced the websites for Our Times, Encyclonet, and for the National Archives of Singapore. Recently she has produced pro-bono pieces for not for profit organizations in Denver.
Meg has served as an elected official as a Greenwood Village Councilmember. She is the former Executive Director of the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training and has taught social studies at the secondary and higher education levels.
She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds a Masters Degree in History from the University of Michigan.
We immediately thought of Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and added this film: