1844 – Seneca Falls Convention. Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, this was the first ever women’s rights convention. Over 300 people attended, and ultimately the convention drafted the Declaration of Sentiments, a document calling for equality between men and women. Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed this document.
1917 – World War I Opens Job Opportunities for Women. Millions of men left the United States to fight in the war in Europe, leaving behind their jobs. Women filled men’s spots in the workplace and helped contribute to the war effort by aiding with ammunition, transportation, food and nursing.
1920 – Women Given Right to Vote Nationally. On August 18th, the U.S. Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which made it legal for women to vote across the entire United States.
1941 – Rosie the Riveter Inspires Women Nationwide. The US joined World War II and millions of men left the United States to fight. In an effort to convince women to take on the manual labor jobs left behind, the government put out a series of campaigns with “Rosie the Riveter,” a strong worker whose motto was “We can do it!”
1948 – Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 Is Passed. A direct result of women’s active involvement in World War II, this act gave women the ability to serve in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. However, Women were still not allowed to fight on enemy lines.
1963 – Equal Pay Act Passed. Passed by congress and John F. Kennedy, this act required that companies pay their workers solely based on their skill and output in the workplace, and not on their gender.
1973 – Roe vs. Wade. In a 7- 2 ruling, the Supreme Court declared that all women have the right to a fair and safe abortion during their first trimester of pregnancy. The court gave the states the power to determine the regulations surrounding abortions during the second and third trimesters.
1978 – Pregnancy Discrimination Act Passed. Congress passed a law that made it illegal for companies to discriminate against hiring women who are pregnant or who are expected to be pregnant during their time working for the company.
1986 – Sexual Harassment Declared a Form of Illegal Job discrimination. In the national case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court ruled that employees could sue their employers for sexual harassment.
2004 – March for Women’s Lives. On April 24th, 1.15 million feminists came together to march for women’s reproductive rights. This demonstration was organized by NOW, and is estimated to be of the largest protests in history.
2009 – Obama passes the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. Another step towards wage equality, this law made it much easier for women to report an official complaint to the government against pay discrimination in their workplace.
2013 – Women Can Fight in Combat. Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta lifted the military ban which had prohibited women from serving in frontline combat positions. The system is now based purely off of merit, and the requirements are the same for both men and women.