How Women Have Shaped the State

Women in Minnesota: Weaving the Web of Society in the North Star State

Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

Casiville Bullard and family

Casiville Bullard and family

Casiville Bullard, Addison Bullard, and their children, ca. 1908. Pictured are (clockwise, left to right) Casiville, Lilly, Addison, Howard, Janet, and Casiville Jr. Public domain.

Minnesota Representative Karen Clark

Minnesota Representative Karen Clark

Minnesota Representative Karen Clark, ca. 1991.

Elaine Goodale Eastman

Elaine Goodale Eastman

Elaine Goodale, undated. Public domain. Goodale married Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) in 1891.

Esther J. Guyer

Esther J. Guyer

Esther J. Guyer, ca. 1936. Guyer was president of the Schubert Club in St. Paul from 1930 to 1933.

Willmar 8 strike headquarters

Willmar 8 strike headquarters

Willmar 8 strike headquarters, February 21, 1979. Photograph by the St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press .

Gomez-Bethke, Irene (1935–2021)

“We are one race—the Human Race.” These are the words of Irene Gomez-Bethke, a daughter of Mexican parents who immigrated to Minnesota. Throughout her life, she played a leadership role in bending the arc of history toward social justice, serving as Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights, guiding boards and commissions as a volunteer, and co-founding both Centro Cultural Chicano and Instituto de Arte y Cultura.

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her lifetime achievement award

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her lifetime achievement award

Irene Gomez-Bethke with a lifetime achievement award from Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Latino Law Student Association, April 15, 2016. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband and children

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband and children

Irene Gomez-Bethke (first row, at right) with her husband and children during her retirement, 2010s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with one of their great grandchildren

Irene Gomez-Bethke and Jack Bethke with one of their great grandchildren

Irene Gomez-Bethke with her husband, Jack, and Jesse A. Lopez (one of their twenty-two great grandchildren), ca. 2000s. Used with the permission of Jesse Bethke Gomez.

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