A cowgirl is the female equivalent of a cowboy.The history of women in the west, and women who worked on cattle ranches in particular, is not as well documented as that of men. However, institutions such as the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame have made significant efforts in recent years to gather and document the contributions of women. There are few records mentioning girls or women working to drive cattle up the cattle trails of the Old West. However women did considerable ranch work, and in some cases (especially when the men went to war or on long cattle drives) ran them. There is little doubt that women, particularly the wives and daughters of men who owned small ranches and could not afford to hire large numbers of outside laborers, worked side by side with men and thus needed to ride horses and be able to perform related tasks. The largely undocumented contributions of women to the west were acknowledged in law; the western states led the United States in granting women the right to vote, beginning with Wyoming in 1869. Early photographers such as Evelyn Cameron documented the life of working ranch women and cowgirls during the late 19th and early 20th century.
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