Marching through women’s history

Maya Fridman and Alexa Stolyarov

The following events contributed to the evolution of women’s rights in America. The American women’s suffrage movement, which started in the late 1800s, pushed for gender equality for all women in various aspects of society, such as the workplace, in healthcare and representation in government. The historical information was provided by Lucy Murphy, professor of history at Ohio State University, and Glenbrook North social studies teachers Robert Gallivan and Robin Sheperd. 

19th Amendment – Aug. 18, 1920

The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 and stated citizens may not be denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. Alice Paul was one of the women who pushed for this amendment, also helping found the National Women’s Party, which fought for women’s suffrage. While the amendment extended suffrage to all female citizens, the reality was that most Black women and other minority citizens still faced voter suppression.

Equal Pay Act – June 10, 1963

Initiated by the Kennedy administration, the Equal Pay Act made federal wage discrimination illegal on the basis of sex. Even though women still face wage inequalities today, the legislation asserts that the federal government recognizes women should have equal pay. Former President John F. Kennedy also appointed the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, headed by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, which made a report that was used to make recommendations on how to better women’s lives. 

Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Aug. 6, 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 inhibits racial discrimination and voter suppression by eliminating literacy tests. The act helped combat voter suppression specifically towards the Black community, including Black women. It was signed into law by former President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Title IX – June 23, 1972

Patsy Mink, Edith Green and Bernice Sandler helped to create and defend Title IX after experiencing educational discrimination on the basis of sex. As part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX made sure women have equal access to education within federally funded schools. Title IX prevents schools that receive federal funding from discriminating against women’s programs, and it is very impactful in the world of women’s sports on the high school and university level.

Roe v. Wade – Jan. 2, 1973

The Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade upholds a woman’s right to have an abortion. “Jane Roe” was a fictional name used to ensure the privacy of the woman who challenged a Texas abortion law. In a 7-2 ruling favoring Roe, the Court decided states are not allowed to pass legislation to regulate abortion during the first trimester of a pregnancy, and legislation regarding the second and third trimesters must be enacted in order to protect maternal health.

First woman appointed to Supreme Court – Sept. 25, 1981

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, she was often the deciding vote between liberal and conservative factions. As a moderate conservative, she served as the swing vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the decision in Roe v. Wade regarding a woman’s right to an abortion.