In 1895, one of the hottest debates at the Colorado statehouse was over a very intimate subject: at what age should a woman, or girl, be legally able to consent to sex?
Leading the charge to raise Colorado’s age of consent was Pueblo Rep. Carrie Clyde Holly, one of the first three women elected to the state’s legislature — and in fact to any state legislature in the nation. By the end of that year’s session, Holly would have another distinction: the first female lawmaker in the country to draft and pass a bill.
“Carrie Clyde Holly didn’t just get elected to office. She got elected to office and she said, How am I going to make things better for women in the world?” said Colorado State University-Pueblo History professor Judy Gaughan, who called Holly’s agenda revolutionary.
At the time, Colorado law said girls could consent to sex as young as age 16, which was older than in some other states, but Holly thought it should be raised further, to 21. It was an idea that aroused plenty of pushback. Listen to the whole story of Carrie Clyde Holly at cpr.org