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In City Hall, Women Make History

More women are on track to be elected mayor in the top 100 cities than ever before—in some major cities, for the first time. But not before overcoming some major hurdles.
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Madison McVeigh/CityLab

The last time the mayor of Seattle was a woman was in 1926. When Bertha Knight Landes ran, local papers assured voters that she was “plain” and “unassuming,” that she went to church, that she was not a “chattering woman” or perhaps worse, that she was not a “new woman” either. When she won, Landes made history, and not only in the city: As the first woman mayor of Seattle, she also became the first woman to be elected mayor of any major U.S. city.

In the wake of this year’s election season, almost 100 years since Landes took office, more women will become mayor in the top 100 U.S. cities than ever before, many in historic wins. Seattle elected a woman for the first time since Landes. And at least five other U.S. cities of all sizes elected women for the first time in their histories, too.