Through the civil rights activism, politics, entertainment, and more, women have been making strides towards equality for hundreds of years. As we move forward legislative and social barriers to achieve gender equality, it’s important to remember where we started, how we moved forward, and how much farther we have to go.
Here’s a timeline of just a few of the historical ways women have made their impact on the world for future generations of women, like us.
1848: Seneca Falls Convention
The first Women’s Rights Convention, Seneca Falls was held in New York in July of 1948. Organized by legendary women’s rights activists Lucretia Mott and Cady Elizabeth Stanton, Seneca Falls was where the Declaration of Sentiments, a list of resolutions to be made to the American constitution aimed to further equality and suffrage for women, was signed.
1896: National Association of Colored Women Is Formed
The National Association of Colored Women (now the NACWC), was formed at the First Annual Convention of National Federation of Afro American Women in Washington D.C in 1896. Founded by black leaders like Harriet Tubman and Frances E.W Harper, the NACWC was created to help women fight against issues of civil rights, racial injustice, and women’s suffrage.
1916: Margaret Sanger Opens First Birth Control Clinic
Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in America in Brownsville, New York in 1916. The clinic provided women with informational pamphlets written by Sanger herself, a lecture on the female reproductive system, and instructions on contraceptives. The clinic was shut down ten days after it opened.
1955: Daughters of the Bilitis is formed
The first lesbian civil and political rights group, DOB was founded in 1955 by four lesbian couples in San Francisco. By 1959, there were five DOB chapters in cities across the United States. The last chapter of DOB fizzled out in 1995, but for f40 years, the group aimed to educate both its members and the public on sex liberation of women, conducting research on homosexuality, and breaking down laws and prejudices that targeted women and queer people.
1969: The Stonewall Riots
Led by members of the LGBT community, specifically transgender women of color like Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the Stonewall Riots occurred in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York known for being LGBT-friendly. This riot was a catalyst for the gay liberation movement that gained the most movement throughout the late 60s to the 80s.
1973: Roe v. Wade
In 1972, a woman named Norma McCorvey (who used the alias Jane Roe) filed a lawsuit claiming that the laws in the state of Texas that criminalized abortion violated her constitutional rights. One year later, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor and forbid any state from regulating abortions performed within the first trimester. The landmark decision ultimately protected a person’s right to an abortion within the first two trimesters.
2005: Condoleezza Rice is Elected as Secretary of State
The first African-American female and only the second African-American elected to this position, Condoleezza Rice was elected as secretary of state in 2005 under President George W. Bush. Rice also previously served as Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, being the first female to hold that position as well.
2014: Laverne Cox Becomes the First Openly Transgender Person Nominated for Acting Emmy
Laverne Cox, cast member of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and activist, became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in the acting category in 2014. She is also the first African-American transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy, and only the second transgender person to be nominated in any category.
This timeline is just a glimpse of the milestones achieved by great female leaders throughout the centuries, and there is no telling the immense achievements we have waiting for us in the future.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.