Skip to content Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, author Pearl S. Buck among influential women from West Virginia

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West Virginia women have been fighting for the right to vote since at least 1895, when the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association was active.

In 1980, as one of four psychiatrists on President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Mental Health, she was crucial to passing the Mental Health Systems Act, landmark federal legislation that poured money into local mental health agencies.

She was president of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association, and, in 1920, she chaired the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association Ratification Committee.

Maude Elizabeth KeeFirst West Virginia woman elected to Congress(1895-1975)Virginia native Elizabeth Kee got her start in politics when her husband, John Kee, died.

She founded numerous hospitals and welfare institutions in West Virginia and was known as a pioneer in the fight against tuberculosis.

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