Who makes a city?
This is the question that we had to ask ourselves as we set out to create this website celebrating and honoring women’s roles in the history of Portland. The history of a city is more than the history of its government, although government is important in making a city. And, in any case, to limit ourselves to honoring women’s contributions to Portland’s government would exclude most women; for, until recently, very few women held political or administrative office in Portland. So we chose to broaden our thinking about Portland’s history and to focus on:
- How women sustained the city’s neighborhoods and families
- How women created institutions to meet people’s needs
- How women contributed to the cultural life of the city
- How women organized for social, political, and economic change
- How women participated in government service
- How women engaged in the economy
- How women used their knowledge to help others
- How women transformed the landscape and the built environment
The women in this web exhibit are only a sample of the many, many women who contributed to the city of Portland. They reflect some of the ways that women have helped to build the city, but this exhibit is not meant to be comprehensive.
We hope that as you read these stories, you will be inspired to learn more about women in Portland’s history.