California Gold Rush: What you didn't learn in school about women's contribution

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As we begin Women's History Month, a Silicon Valley author is celebrating California's early success.

Wendy Voorsanger's new book, "Prospects of a Woman," highlights how women were key in building the West.

Voorsanger joined ABC7 News for an interview on Monday.

She explained how the depth of her research behind her book uncovered many women who were crucial to developing the State of California in the 1800s.

These women were not the "damsels in distress" that they are often portrayed to be, Voorsnager explains.

Rather, they were bold and brave, and played pivotal roles in not only the California Gold Rush, but in building the West as a whole.

A contributing factor, Voorsanger explains, was that even back then, California was one of the more progressive states.

Women were allowed to own and sell property in their own names, and file for divorce and still keep custody of their children, among other things women couldn't do in other states at the time.

The heroin of "Prospects of a Women" uses these laws to her advantage in her journey throughout the book.

Watch the video in the player above to watch the full interview.
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