and Drug Administration approves birth control pills. Women now earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men, a decline
since 1955. Women of color earn only 42 cents.
control pills are approved for marketing in the United States. Pres. Kennedy creates the President's Commission
on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. Fifty parallel state commissions are eventually established.
US Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, enacting the first federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination. Betty Friedan publishes
"The Feminine Mystique," the seminal work of the women's liberation movement. The report issued by the President's
Commission on the Status of Women documents discrimination against women in virtually every area of American life. It makes
24 specific recommendations, some surprisingly far-sighted (example: community property in marriages). 64,000 copies are sold
in less than a year and talk of women's rights is again respectable.
the Equal Employment Opportunity Countil, Congress passes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws employment discrimination
on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Patsy Mink (D-HI) is the first Asian-American female elected to the
v Connecticut, Supreme Court overturns one of the last state laws prohibiting
the prescription or use of contraceptives by married couples. 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. Weeks v. Southern Bell marks a major triumph in the fight against restrictive labor
laws and company regulations on the hours and conditions of women's work, opening many previously male-only jobs to females.
founds the National Organization for Women (NOW), which takes the leadership role in the women's liberation movement. Fifty
state Commissions on the Status of Women convene in Washington, D.C.,
to report on their findings.
Women's Liberation Group organizes, considered the first to use the term "liberation." New York Radical Women is founded.
The following year they begin a process of sharing life stories, which becomes known as "consciousness raising." Groups immediately
take root coast-to-coast. California becomes the first state to re-legalize
abortion. Executive Order 11375 expands Executive Order 11246's non-discrimination measure to include women. Enforcement is
not won until 1973, however.
York Radical Women garner media attention to the women's movement when they protest the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic
City. The first national women's liberation conference is held in Chicago.
The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is founded. EEOC rules that unless employers can show a bona fide occupational
qualification exists, sex-segregated help wanted newspaper ads are illegal. Federally Employed Woman is founded to end gender-based
discrimination in civil service jobs. Within two decades, FEW has 200 chapters nationwide. The Voice of the Women's Liberation
Movement appears in Chicago, edited by Jo Freeman and others. By 1971, over 100
women's movement newsletters and newspapers are being published across the country. National Welfare Rights organization if
formed by activists such as Johnnie Tillmon and Etta Horm. They have 22,000 members by 1969, but are unable to survive as
an organization past 1975. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
women set up "Jane," an abortion referral service. During four years of existence, it provides more than 11,000 women with
safe and affordable abortions. 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. California adopts the nation's first "no fault" divorce law, allowing
couples to divorce by mutual consent. Other states follow rapidly. In Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive, the Supreme Court rules that
women meeting the physical requirements can work in many jobs that had been for men only.
Friedan organizes first Women's Equality Day, August 26, to mark the 50th anniversary of women's right to vote. Sexual
Politics, by Kate Millett, is published. The Comision Feminil Mexicana Nacion is organized to promote Latina
rights. Founders include Graciella Olivares, Gracia Molina Pick, Francisco Flores, and Yolanda Nava. The North American Indian
Women's Association is founded. San Diego State College in California establishes
the first official, integrated women's studies program. Women's wages fall to 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although
nonwhite women earn even less, the gap is closing between white women and women of color. The Equal Rights Amendment is reintroduced
into Congress. Lutheran Church in America and the American
Lutheran Church agree to ordain women; the Lutheran Church:
Missouri Synod does not. Barbara Andrews becomes first woman ordained.
first battered women's shelter opens in the U.S., in Urbana,
Illinois, founded by Cheryl Frank and Jacqueline Flenner. By 1979, more than 250 shelters
are operating. New York Radical Feminists holds a series of speakouts and a conference on rape and women's treatment by the
criminal justice system. Susan Brownmiller's book, Against Our Will, is one result. Another: the establishment of rape crisis
centers across the country. For the first time in its 130 yrs, attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully uses the Fourteenth
Amendment to overturn a sex-biased law in the Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed. Ms. magazine first appears as an insert in
New York magazine. Gloria Steinem, Ms. co-founder and editor, becomes a leading
journalist and media personality for the Second Wave. The non-partisan National Women's Political Caucus is founded to encourage
women to run for public office.
ERA finally passes in the US Senate, due in large part to the lobbying power of NOW. By the end of the year, however, only
22 of the 38 required states ratify it. The first emergency rape crisis hotline opens in Washington,
D.C. By 1976 400 independent rape crisis centers operate nationwide offering counseling,
self-defense classes, and support groups. Title IX 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." In
Eisenstadt v. Baird the Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy encompasses an unmarried person's right to use contraceptives.
Congress extends the Equal Pay Act to include executives, administrative and professional personnel. Congress passes the Equal
Employment Opportunity Act, giving the EEOC power to take legal action to enforce its rulings. Ms. magazine begins regular
publication, reaching a circulation of 350,000 within a year. Barbara Jordan (D-TX) becomes first Black woman elected to Congress
from a Southern state. Sally Priesand becomes first U.S. woman
ordained as a rabbi in Reform Judaism.
U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion in America.
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. The National Black Feminist Organization is established.
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. The Civil Service Commission eliminates height and weight requirements that have discriminated against
women applying for police, park service, and fire fighting jobs. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance issues guidelines
prohibiting sex discrimination in employment by any federal contractor and requiring affirmative action to correct existing
imbalances. The U.S. military is integrated when the women-only
branches are eliminated. In a suit brought by NOW, Pittsburgh Press v Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, the Supreme
Court affirms the EEOC ruling against sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers. This opens the way for women to apply
for jobs previously limited to men and offering better pay and advancement opportunities.
of Displaced Homemakers is founded by Tish Sommers and Laurie Shields to address issues of divorced and widowed homemakers
seeking employment. 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. MANA, the Mexican-American Women's National Association, organizes
as feminist activist organization. By 1990, MANA chapters operate 16 states with members in 36. Hundreds of colleges are offering
women's studies courses; there are over 80 full programs in place. Additionally, 230 women's centers on college campuses provide
support services for female students. The Women's Educational Equity Act, drafted by Arlene Horowitz and introduced by Rep.
Patsy Mink (D-HI), funds the development of nonsexist teaching materials and model programs that encourage full educational
opportunities for females. The Coalition for Labor Union Women is founded, uniting blue-collar women across occupational lines.
Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur determines it is illegal to force pregnant women to take maternity leave on the assumption
they are incapable of working in their physical condition. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbids sex discrimination in
all consumer credit practices; extended to commercial credit in 1988. Ella Grasso becomes the first woman to win election
as governor in her own right, in Connecticut. The number of women in public
office begins to rise. Women now hold 8% of state 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. Through a series of Mujeres Pro-Raza
Unida conferences, Texas Chicanas have organized a statewide network to promote Chicana awareness, political campaign strategies
and organizing techniques.
v. Louisiana denied states the right to exclude women from juries.
Benjamin Spock eliminates sex-bias in his revised Baby and Child Care. Organization of Pan Asian American Women is founded
to impact public policy. The United Nations "Decade for Women" begins. Title IX goes into effect (see 1972 entry). Opening
the way for women's increased participation in athletics programs and professional schools, enrollments leap in both categories.
Title IX withstands repeated court challenges over time (see 1997 entry). Alliance
for Displaced Homemakers founded by Tish Sommers and Laurie Shields, moving the issues of divorced and widowed homemakers
seeking employment into the public discussion. U.S. military
academies open admissions to females. Working Woman: The National Association for Office Workers is formed. In four years
it has over 10,000 members. In a groundbreaking law, marital rape becomes a crime in Nebraska.
Women Against Violence Against Women, stages the first major demonstration against pornography, in Los
Angeles. A New York Times survey shows that women's enrollment
in theological seminaries has risen from 3% to 35% of all students within the previous decade. The Episcopal Church votes
to allow the ordination of women as bishops and priests, and recognizes the earlier "irregular" ordination of Jacqueline Means
and ten other women.
First National Women's Conference is held in Houston, Texas,
chaired by Bella Abzug. 130,000 women attended preparatory meetings held in every state to draft recommendations for a national
Plan of Action and to elect 2,000 delegates to the conference - the most diverse group ever elected in the U.S.
The delegates publish a 25-point Plan of Action. The National Women's Studies Association is formed to promote the field's
development. By 1978 there are over 15,000 courses and more than 275 programs; by 1992 there are 670 programs. Congress passes
the Hyde Amendment, eliminating federal funding for poor women's abortions. By 1995, only thirteen states still provide public
funding for abortions. Between 1969 and 1977, the Supreme Court issues full opinions on 21 women's rights cases. Michelle
Barnes wins the first sexual harassment suit, before the US.
Court of Appeals for the Disrict of Columbia. The last state (Indiana)
ratifies the ERA, but three more are needed.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act becomes law. Defining pregnancy as a "disability," Congress requires employers to extend those
benefits offered to "other" disabled employees. 100,000 march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington,
D.C. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence forms bringing shelters and other groups
together to publicize the issue. The Older Women's League is founded to address age-and-gender discrimination issues including
health insurance and retirement benefits. For the first time in history, more women than men enter college. OFCC establishes
quotas for federally funded construction projects: 6.9% women on work sites and 20-25% women in apprentiship programs. Still,
by 1983 women were only 2% of the construction labor force. Publicity about the Oregon
v. Rideout decision leads many other states to also allow prosecution for marital and cohabitation rape. 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.
Anderson founds and directs the Ohoyo Resource Center
to advance the status of American Indian/Alaska Native females. The National Association for Black Women Entrepreneurs is
formed by Marilyn French-Hubbard to offer advice, training, and networking for black businesswomen. Rape crisis centers in
20 states join forces in the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Judy Chicago's art exhibit honoring notable women
in history, "The Dinner Party," opens in San Francisco with record-setting attendance
and vitriolic reviews.
Jackson-McCabe founds the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. New EEOC guidelines list sexual harassment as a form of prohibited
sexual discrimination. The "gender gap" first shows up at the election polls as women report different political priorities
than men. The Reverend Marjorie S. Matthew is elected as a bishop of the United
Methodist Church, becoming the nation's first woman
to sit on the governing body of a major religious denomination.
the request of women's organizations, President Carter proclaims the first "National Women's History Week," incorporating
March 8, International Women's Day. The National Black Women's Health Project founded to establish community-based self-help
groups. (Mary would delete this). In San Jose, California,
a strike of city workers wins salaries based on comparable worth for nearly 1500 women, a national first. Kirchberg v. Feenstra
overturns state laws designating a husband "head and master," having unilateral control of property owned jointly with his
wife. Sandra Day O'Connor is the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1993, she is joined by Ruth Bader
Ginsberg. Sharon Parker and Veronica Collazo found the National Institute for Women of Color. First project: replacing phrase
"minority women" with "women of color" in common usage.
a decade of fighting for ratification, the ERA fails. In the end, only 35 of the 38 required states ratify the ammendment.
Over 900 women hold positions as state legislators, compared with 344 a decade earlier.
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 all-male organizations to females. EMILY's List (Early Money is Like Yeast:
It Makes the Dough Rise) is founded to raise funds for feminist candidates Geraldine Ferraro is the first female vice-presidential
candidate of a major political party (Democratic Party). 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.
Thurman of Connecticut is first woman to win a civil suit as a battered wife.
Wilma Mankiller becomes first woman installed as principal chief of a major Native American tribe, the Cherokee in Oklahoma.
Supreme Court rules that sexual harrassment in the workplace is tantamount to sexual discrimination and, thus, illegal. The
New York Times is the last among major dailies to allow use of "Ms." as a title. Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as
a rabbi by the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly. About 25% of scientists are now female, 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 female
(51 members); since the academy's 1863 founding, only 60 women have been elected.
to the National Women's History Project, the U.S. Congress declares March to be National Women's History Month. The Feminist
Majority Foundation is founded by Ellie Smeal to help female candidates win public offices.
Barbara Harris, an African-American, becomes the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church.
marchers demonstrate for women's reproductive rights in Washington, D.C.
In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the Supreme Court affirms the right of states to deny public funding for abortions
and to prohibit public hospitals from performing abortions.
in their twenties, calling themselves "the third wave," form myriad on- and off-campus organizations to tackle their generation's
particular concerns and vulnerabilities. LaDonna Harris, Native American activist, estimates that women make up one-quarter
of most tribal councils, and fill half the seats on many. The number of Black women in elective office has increased from
131 in 1970 to 1,950 in 1990.
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, by Susan Faludi documents the attacks on women's progress during the
last decade, "set off not by women's achievement of full equality but by the increased possibility that they might win it.
are now paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to men. The range is from 64 cents for working-class women to 77cents for professional
women with doctorates. Black women earned 65 cents, Latinas 54 cents. Women owned business employ more workers in the United
States than the Fortune 500 companies do worldwide. "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 (total: and six to
the Senate. They include: the first Mexican-American woman and first Puerto Rican woman in the House, Lucille Roybal-Allard
(D-CA) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY); the first black woman Senator, Carole Moseley Braun, D-IL; and both Senators for California,
Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, who are both Democrats. Women win all five of the gold medals won by Americans during the
family and medical leave bill--providing time off for pregnancy or family illness--is signed into law by President Clinton;
a similar bill had been twice vetoed by former President Bush. Take Our Daughters to Work Day debuts, designed to build girls
self-esteem and open their eyes to a variety of career possibilities for women. Fifty states have revised their laws so that,
depending on the degree of additional violence used, husbancs can be prosecuted for sexually assaulting their wives. With
the increased number of female members, the 103rd Congress passes into law thirty bills on women's issues during its first
year, 33 during its second. The previous record for any year: five. Women hold a record number of positions in state as well
as federal government. Are 20.4% of state legislators; 3 governors, 11 lieutenant governors, 8 attorneys general, 13 secretaries
of state, 19 state treasurers. 6 women in the Senate, 48 in the House of Representatives.
part of the Anticrime Bill, the Violence Against Women Act is passed by Congress. Every couple applying for a marriage license
in California is given information about domestic violence. Congress adopts
the Gender Equity in Eduation Act to train teachers, promote math and science learning by girls, counsel pregnant teens, and
prevent sexual harassment.
women's spectacular success in the Summer Olympics (19 gold medals, 10 silver, 9 bronze) is the result of large numbers of
females active in sports since the passage of Title IX. United States
v. Virginia affirmes that the male-only admissions policy of the state-supported
Virginia Military Institute violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Total number of female bishops, priests, ministers, and rabbis:
Baptist: 2,313 ministers; Episcopal: 6 bishops, 1,452 priests; Evangelical Lutheran: 1,838 pastors; Judaic, Reform: 259 rabbis;
Judaic, conservative: 72 rabbis; Judaic, Orthodox: 0 rabbis; Latter-day Saints: 0 priests; Methodists: 10 bishops, 4,995 ministers;
Presbyterian: 3,026 ministers; Roman Catholic: 0 priests; Seventy-day Adventist: 0 priests; Unitarian Universalist Association:
4,443 ministers; United Church of Christ (Congregationalist): 2,080 ministers.
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
The timeline in full from 1652 - 1997 can be found here.