Chronology of Women's rights Movement 1848-1999

Chronology of Women's rights Movement 1848-1999

Chronology of Women’s rights Movement 1848-199

1848 The worlds' first women’s' rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 and 20. A Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions is debated and ultimately signed by 86 women and 32 men, setting the agenda for the women’s' rights movement that followed.

1849 Amelia Jenks Bloomer publishes and edits Lily, the first prominent women’s' rights newspaper.

1850 The first national women’s rights convention attracts over 1,000 participants to Worcester, Massachusetts, from as far away as California. Only a lack of space kept hundreds from attending. Annual national conferences are held through 1860 (except 1857).

1851 Sojourner Truth gives her spontaneous "Ain't Ta Woman?" speech at the women’s' rights convention in Akron, Ohio.

1855Lucy Stone becomes first woman on record to keep her own nam after marriage setting a trend among women who are consequently known as "Lucy Stoners."

1855 The University of Iowa becomes the first state school to admit women. In 1858, the board of managers tries, but fails, to exclude women.

1859 American Medical Association announces its opposition to abortion. In 1860, Connecticut is the first state to enact laws prohibiting all abortions, both before and after quickening.

1862 Mary Jane Patterson is the first African American woman to receive a full baccalaureate degree, from Oberlin College. Three European American women had been graduated in 1841 from Oberlin College: Mary Hosford, Elizabeth Smith Prall, and Caroline Mary Rudd.

1862Congress passed the Morril Act, which established land grant colleges in rural areas. Through them, millions of women earn low-cost degrees.

1866 14th Amendment is passed by Congress (ratified by the states in 1868), the first time "citizens" and "voters" are defined as "male" in the Constitution.

1866 The American Equal Rights Association is founded, the first organization in the US.. to advocate national women's suffrage.

1868 The National Labor Union supports equal pay for equal work.

1868 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Anthony begin publishing The Revolution, an important women’s' movement periodical.

1869 The first woman suffrage law in the U.S. passed in the territory of Wyoming.

1869 In disagreement over the 15th Amendment, Anthony and Stanton withdraw from the Equal Rights Association to found the National Woman Suffrage Association. Its wide ranging goals include achieving a federal amendment for the women's vote.

1869 The American Woman Suffrage Association is formed to secure the vote through each state constitution.

1870 In March, for the first time in the history of jurisprudence, women serve on juries in the Wyoming Territory.

1870 The 15th Amendment receives final ratification. By its text, women are not specifically excluded from the vote. During the next two years, approximately 150 women will attempt to vote in almost a dozen different jurisdictions.

1872 Through the efforts of lawyer Belva Lockwood, Congress passes a law to give women federal employees equal pay for equal work.

1872 November 5: Susan B. Anthony and fourteen women register and vote in the presidential election to test whether the recently adopted Fourteenth Amendment can be interpreted as protecting women's rights. Anthony is arrested, tried, found guilty, and fined $10, which she refuses to pay.

1873The Association for the Advancement of Women is formed to promote both higher education and professional possibilities for women.

1873 Bradwell v. Hinois: Supreme Court affirms that states can restrict women from the practice of any profession to preserve family harmony and uphold the law of the Creator.

1873 Congress passes the Comstock Law, defining contraceptive information as "obscene material," As postal inspector, moralist Anthony Comstock seizes mail and shuts down newspapers carrying such information.

1874 The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. The WCT later becomes an important force for woman suffrage.

1875 Through her will, Sophia Smith is the first woman to found and endow a women's college. Smith College was chartered in 1871, opened in 1875.

1875 Minor v. Happersen: Supreme Court refuses to extend the 14th amendment protection to women's rights, denying voting rights to women.

1877 Helen Magill is the first woman to receive a Ph.D, at a U.S. school, a doctorate in Greek from BostonUniversity,

1878 The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, to grant women the vote, is fist introduced in the U.S. Congress.

1884 Belva Lockwood, presidential candidate of the National Equal Rights Party, is the first woman to receive votes in a presidential election (approximately 4,000 in six states).

1887 For the first and only time in this century, the US.. Senate votes on woman suffrage. It loses, 34 to 16. Twenty-five Senators do not bother to participate.

1889 The work of educated women serving the Chicago poor at Hull House establishes social work as a paid profession for women.

1890 National Woman Suffrage Association and American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), becoming the movement's mainstream organization.

1893 Colorado is the first state to adopt a state amendment enfranchising women.

1896 The National Association of Colored Women, founded by Margaret Murray Washington, unites Black women's organizations, with Mary Church Terrell its first president. The NACW becomes a major vehicle for attempted reform during the next forty years.

1903 Middle-class reformers and women labor organizers join forces to form the national Women's Trade Unions League (WTUL), to bring public attention to the concerns of women workers.

1908 Muler v. Oregon: U.S. Supreme Court declares unconstitutional protective legislation for women workers.

1910 In Washington State, women win the vote.

1910 The first large suffrage parade in New York City is organized by the Women's Political Union.

1912 Juliene Gordon Low founds first American group of Girl Guides, in Atlanta, Georgia. Later renamed the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., the organization brings girls into the outdoors, encourages their self-reliance and resourcefulness, and prepares them for varied roles as adult women.

1914 Margaret Sanger calls for legalization of contraceptives in her new, feminist publication, the Woman Rebel, which the Post Office bans from the mails.

1915 40,000 march in New York City suffrage parade, the largest parade ever held in that city,

1917 During World War I, women move into many jobs working in heavy industry in mining, chemical manufacturing, automobile and railway plants. They also run street cars, conduct trains, direct traffic, and deliver mail.

1917 Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

1919 The House of Representatives passes the woman suffrage amendment, 304 to 89; the Senate passes it with just two votes to spare.

1920 The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor is formed to advocate for and keep statistics on women in the workforce

1920 On August 26, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing American women citizens the right to vote. It is quietly signed into law in a ceremony to which the press and suffragists were not invited.

1920 Suffrage passed, Carrie Chapman Cat founds the League of Women Voters to educate the newly enfranchised voters about the issues.

1921 The American Association of University Women is formed.

1921 Margaret Sanger organizes the American Birth Control League, which evolves into the Federation of Planned Parenthood in 1942.

1923 Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party succeed in having a constitutional amendment introduced in Congress which said: "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction." In 1943 the wording was revised to what we know today as the Equal Rights Amendment.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first woman elected governor of a state.

1926 Bertha Knight Landes is the first woman elected mayor of a sizable U.S. city (Seattle).

1932 Hattie Wyatt Caraway is the first woman elected to U.S. Senate. She represents Arkansas for three terms.

1933 Frances Perkins, the first woman in a Presidential Cabinet, serves as Secretary of Labor during the entire Roosevelt presidency.

1935 Margaret Mead's Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies challenges sex-role assumptions.

1935 Mary McLeod Bethune organizes the National Council of Negro Women as a lobbying coalition of black women's groups, and serves as president until 1949. The NCNW becomes foremost at fighting job discrimination, racism, and sexism.

1940 One-fifth of white women and one-third of black women are wage earners; 60% of the black women are still domestics, compared with 10% of white women.

1941 A massive government and industry media campaign persuades women to take jobs during the war. Almost 7million women respond, 2 million as industrial "Rosie the Riveters" and 400,000 joining the military.

1945 The Equal Pay for Equal Work bill is again introduced into Congress (see 1872). It passes in 1963.

1945 Women industrial workers begin to lose their jobs in large numbers to returning service men, although surveys show 80% want to continue working.

1948 Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) becomes first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right. In 1964, she becomes the first woman to run for the U.S. Presidency in the primaries of a major political party (Republican). She serves in the Senate until 1973.

1950 30% of al women are in the paid labor force more than half of all single women and more than a quarter of married women.

1955 Women earn an average of 63 cents for every dollar earned by men.

1957 The number of women and men voting is approximately equal for the first time

1960 The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.

1960 Women now earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men, a decline since 1955. Women of color earn only 42 cents.

1963 The Equal Pay Act, proposed twenty years earlier, establishes equal pay for men and women performing the same job duties. It does not cover domestics, agricultural workers, executives, administrators of professionals.

1963 Betty Friedan's best-seller, The Feminine Mystique, detailed the "problem that has no name!" Five million copies are sold by 1970, laying the groundwork for the modem feminist movement.

1964 Tittle VII of the Civil Rights Act bars employment discrimination by private employers, employment agencies, and unions based on race, sex, and other grounds. To investigate complaints and enforce penalties, it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which receives 50,000 complaints of gender discrimination in its first five years.

1964 Patsy Mink (D-HI) is the first Asian American woman elected to the US.. Congress.

1965 In Griswold v Connecticut, the Supreme Court overturns one of the last state laws prohibiting the prescription or use of contraceptives by married couples.

1965 Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11246 takes the 1964 Civil Rights Act a step further, requiring federal agencies and federal contractors to take "affirmative action" in overcoming employment discrimination.

1966 In response to EOC in action no employment discrimination complaints, twenty-eight women found the National Organization for Women (called NOW) to function as a civil rights organization for women.

1967 Chicago Women's Liberation Group organizes, considered the first to use the term "liberation."

1967 New York Radical Women is founded. The following year the group begins a process of sharing life stories, which becomes known as "consciousness raising." Groups immediately take roof coast to coast.

1967 California becomes the first state to re-legalize abortions.

1968 EEOC rules that unless employers can show a bona fide occupational qualification exists, sex segregated help-wanted newspaper ads are illegal.

1968 Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is first black woman elected to the U.5. Congress.

1969 The Boston Women's Health Book Collective publishes the self-help manual Our Bodies. Ourselves: A Book by and for Women, incorporating medical information with personal experiences. Nearly 4 million copies sold as of 1997.

1969 California adopts the nation's first "no-fault” divorce law, allowing couples to divorce by mutual consent. Other states follow rapidly.

1970 Sexual Politics, by Kate Millett, is published.

1970 San Diego State College in California establishes the first official, integrated women’s' studies program,

1970 Women’s' wages fall to 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although non white women earn even less, the gap is closing between white women and women of color.

1970 The Equal Rights Amendment is reintroduced into Congress.

1971 Ms. magazine first appears as an insert in New York magazine. Gloria Steinem, Ms. co-founder and editor, becomes a leading jounalist.

1972 Title XI of the Education Amendments requires that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

1972 Congress extends the Equal Pay Act to include executives, administrative and professional personnel.

1972 Congress passes the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, giving the EEOC power to take legal action to enforce its rulings.

1972 After languishing since 1923, the ERA is passed by Congress on March 27 and sent to the states for ratification. Hawaii approves it within the hour. By the end of the week, so have Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Idaho and Iowa

1972 Barbara Jordan (D-TX) becomes first Black woman elected to Congress from a Southern state.

1973 Billie Jean King scores an enormous victory for female athletes when she beats Bobby Riggs in "The Battle of the Sexes," a televised tennis tournament watched by nearly 48,000,000 people.

1973 9to5: National Association of Working Women, is founded by Karen Nussbaum in Boston. Nussbaum later becomes Director of the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor.

1973 The Civil Service Commission eliminates height and weight requirements that have discriminated against women applying for police, park service, and fire fighting jobs.

1973 The U.S. military is integrated when the women only branches are eliminated.

1973 In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court establishes a womans' right to an abortion, effectively canceling the anti abortion laws of 46 states.

1974 Little League agrees to include girls “in deference to a change in social climate," but creates a softball branch specifically for girls to draw them from baseball.

1974 The Coalition for Labor Union Women is founded, uniting blue-collar women across occupational lines.

1974 The number of women in public office begins to rise. Women now hold 8% of scare legislative seats and 16 seats in Congress. By 1986: 14.8% of legislative seats, and 24 seats in Congress. In 1997: 21% of legislative seats, 62 seats in Congress.

1976 Dr. Benjamin Spock eliminates sex bias in his revised Baby and Child Care.

1976 The United Nations' "Decade for Women" begins.

1976 U.S. military academies open admissions to women.

1976 In a groundbreaking law, marital rape becomes a crime in Nebraska.

1977 Between 1969 and 1977, the Supreme Court issues full opinions on 21 women’s rights cases.

1978 100,000 march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington, D.C.

1978 For the first time in history, more women than men enter college.

1978 The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban employment discrimination against pregnant women.

1978 The first national feminist conference on pornography is held in San Francisco, with a large "Take Back the Night" march. Soon thousands of women across the country stage similar marches.

1980 New EEOC guidelines list sexual harassment as a form of prohibited sexual discrimination.

1980 The "gender gap" first shows up at the election pols as women report different political priorities from men,

1981Sandra Day O'Connor is the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1993, she is joined by Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

1982 Ratification efforts for an Equal Rights Amendment fail despite a solid majority of the public 63% supporting it. It is promptly reintroduced into Congress.

1982 Over 900 women hold positions as state legislators, compared with 344 a decade earlier.

1984 Sex discrimination in the admission policies of organizations such as the Jaycees is forbidden by the Supreme Court in Roberts v United States Jaycees, opening many previously al-male organizations to women.

1984 Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman vice presidential candidate of a major political party (Democratic Party).

1984 The non-partisan National Political Congress of Black Women is founded by Shirley Chisholm to address women's rights issues and encourage participation in the electoral process at every level.

1985 Tracey Thurman of Connecticut is first woman to win a civil suit as a battered wife.

1985 Wilma Mankiler becomes first woman installed as principal chief of a major Native American tribe, the Cherokee in Oklahoma.

1986 The Supreme Court declares sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination.

1986 The New York Times is the last among major dailies to allow use of "Ms." as a title.

1986 About 25% of scientists are now women, but they are still less likely than men to be full professors or on a tenure track in teaching. Only 3.5% of the National Academy of Sciences members are women (51 members); since the academy's 1863 founding, only 60 women have been elected.

1989 300,000 marchers demonstrate for women's reproductive rights in Washington, D.C.

1990s Women in their twenties, calling themselves "the third wave," form myriad on- and off-campus organizations to tackle their generation's particular concerns and vulnerabilities.

1992 Women are now paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to men. The range is from 64 cents for working- class women to 7 cents for professional women with doctorates. Black women earned 65 cents, Latinas 54 cents.

1992 "The Year of the Woman". A record number of women run for public office, and win. Twenty-four are newly elected to the House of Representatives.

1993 The Family Medical Leave Act finally goes into effect. Vetoed by President Bush, it is the first bill signed by President Clinton.

1993 Women hold a record number of positions in state as well as federal government: 20.4% of state legislators; 3 governors: 1 lieutenant governors; 8 attorneys general; 31 secretaries of state; 91 state treasurers; 6 women in the Senate; and 48 in the House of Representatives.

1996 United States :v Virginia affirms that the male-only admissions policy of the state-supported Virginia Military Institute violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

1997 Elaborating on Title IX, the Supreme Court rules that college athletics programs must actively involve roughly equal numbers of men and women to qualify for federal support.

Source: National Women’s History Project

More Women's History in Chronological form available by clicking this LINK

Back to blog