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The West is usually portrayed as a coarse and tumble man's global, yet in the back of those men--and usually independently--were girls with the desires, power, and resolution to make a difference.

The "Encyclopedia of girls within the American West" is a tribute to their independence, intelligence, braveness, spirit, perseverance, and bold.

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Since 1914 Arizona has usually ranked among the top five states in female representation. Women constituted from 5% to 14% of the legislature from 1912 to 1950, and thereafter their numbers have grown steadily. Women did not simply start running for office in large numbers in Arizona in recent decades. Rather, they established a strong basis for women’s political involvement immediately following suffrage and have gradually expanded it over the years. The political party composition of the state from 1900 to 1950 was decidedly lopsided—with approximately 63% of all voters registered as Democrats.

Democratic primary elections for the legislature were generally competitive, with three to five candidates for contests, while Republicans often found it difficult to entice candidates to run. Women fared well in Democratic primaries, usually winning elections in roughly the same ratios as men. This suggests that most voters viewed females as well-qualified candidates for the legislature. In 1914, the first year women were eligible to vote in Arizona, two Democratic women, Frances Willard Munds and Rachel Berry, were elected to the state legislature.

A suffrage referendum passed in the House, but failed by one vote in the Senate. Once again, the legislature could not bring itself to give women the vote. Subsequently, Munds and O’Neill launched an initiative campaign in the summer of 1912 to collect the 3,342 signatures required by state law to place an initiative on the November ballot. For 6 weeks over 50 Arizona male and female volunteers, many of whom belonged to the Socialist Party, canvassed the state without the assistance of NAWSA. The petition drive was successful and the ballot went before the male voters of the state that fall.

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