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5 influential women in Washington state's history

What was first a day in 1918, then a week in 1980, eventually became a month-long commemoration in 1987.

SEATTLE — March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of women in history who fought for rights and equality. What was first a day in 1918, then a week in 1980, eventually became a month-long commemoration in 1987.

Many women have contributed to the state's history since it became the forty-second state in 1889. Here are five influential women in Washington's history.

Bertha Knight Landes

Bertha Knight Landes became the first female mayor of Seattle and of a major American city in 1926.

Landes moved to Seattle from Massachusetts in 1895 after her husband, Henry Landes, accepted a teaching position at the University of Washington.

In 1922, Landes became one of the first women to be elected to the Seattle City Council, where she served for four years with two of them as council president.

As mayor, Landes tightened the budget, raised standards, and pushed to clean up the city in a time of widespread corruption.

Landes served one four-year term and lost reelection in 1928.

Landes died in 1943 at 75.

Janet McCloud (Yet-Si-Blue)

Janet McCloud, known as "Yet-Si-Blue" or "the woman who talks", was a descendant of Chief Seattle and a human rights activist.

McCloud was instrumental in the 1960s as northwest tribes asserted their treaty rights and she helped organize "fish-ins" on the Nisqually and Puyallup rivers.

Some called McCloud "the Rosa Parks of the American Indian Movement."

McCloud and her husband were founding members of the Survival of American Indian Association.

McCloud died in 2003 at 69.

Marjorie Pitter King

Marjorie Pitter King was the first Black woman to hold a state office in Washington.

King was born in Seattle in 1921 and attended the University of Washington. Politics was a mainstay throughout King's life, according to her obituary in the Seattle Times, with a focus on civil rights for women and minorities.

King became the state's first female African-American legislator serving King County when she was appointed to complete the term on her friend Rep. Ann T. O'Donnell.

King was also a successful businesswoman, owning and operating M & M Accounting and Tax Service out of her basement for 48 years.

King died in 1996 at 74.

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Ruby Chow

Ruby Chow, born in 1920 on a fishing dock in Seattle, was an activist, politician and restauranteur. Chow was the first Asian American to serve on the King County Council in 1973.

Chow and her husband opened Ruby Chow’s Restaurant in 1948 at Broadway and Jefferson which attracted celebrities and politicians.

Chow became an advocate for the Chinese community and helped the first Asian American get elected to a major political office in the United States, Wing Luke.

Chow served for three terms on the King County Council.

Chow died in 2008 at 87.

Patty Murray

Patty Murray is Washington's first woman U.S. Senator.

Murray was born in 1950 in Bothell and graduated from Washington State University in 1972.

Murray, a retired teacher, first ran for a Washington State Senate seat in 1988 as an advocate for environmental and educational issues. Murray served one term in the State Senate before running a successful U.S. Senate campaign in 1992, where she has served since.

Murray co-authored the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and was the first woman to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. She is also the first woman to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has been a member of the U.S. Senate leadership since 2001.

RELATED: Seattle Women's History Timeline

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