“Don’t think about making women fit the world—think about making the world fit women.”Gloria Steinem
While we should celebrate women every day, Women’s History Month is the perfect time to start – and there’s no better way to kick things off than by learning about some of the important dates in women’s history. It was tough deciding which ones to include on this list, but we narrowed it down to our favorites. Share some of your own with us in the comments!
1851: Sojourner Truth makes her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech.
Born into slavery, Truth made it her lifelong mission to battle for women’s rights. She gave her renowned “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.
1869: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the National Woman Suffrage Association.
In 1869, Wyoming granted women full voting rights, making it the first state in the United States to do so. By 1900, more states began granting suffrage to women.
1920: Women are granted the right to vote.
Although it took over seven decades, the 19th Amendment finally gave women the right to vote.
1963: The Equal Pay Act is passed.
President John F. Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women stated that women in America still weren’t treated equally to men, especially in regards to their occupation. It was legally accepted for employers to pay female employees less than male ones despite them doing comparable work, only because of their gender.
1971: Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan form the National Women’s Political Caucus.
The women who founded the Caucus center their work around advocating for equality. The same year they opened, Steinem started Ms. magazine- an outlet that would be one of the first to candidly discuss real women’s issues. In 1976, it made history by being the first issue to feature domestic violence on its cover.
1981: Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although she graduated first in her class from Stanford Law, only six percent of federal judges were women. She had difficulty getting hired because of discrimination against her gender.
1983: Sally Ride becomes the first woman in space.
“As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” President Obama said soon after news of her death broke last year. “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”
2002: Halle Berry becomes the first African American woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress.
Berry won for her role in Monster’s Ball. In her speech, she shouted out iconic black actresses and said that this win was bigger than hers because it meant an opportunity for other black women in Hollywood. She closed by thanking the academy and saying how honored she felt.
2005: Hillary Clinton becomes the first First Lady to be elected to public office.
Clinton joined the U.S Congress as a Senator from New York. She also got closer than any other woman to becoming President of the United States, and she may get even closer in 2016…
2010: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director.
Not only did she make history with her film The Hurt Locker, but actress Jessica Chastain stated that Bigelow has done more for women in cinema than she gives herself credit for.
2012: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, becomes the youngest self-made female billionaire.
Blake’s invention made her cover of Forbes at a young age. Katie Couric, in an article for Time, wrote about Sarah: “It’s ironic that the woman who became a billionaire from inventing Spanx doesn’t even need them. Poor thing, she was only a size 2 when she got the idea. But Blakely didn’t let naysayers stop her; with just $5 000 and great ideas, she showed that you don’t need anything more than knowing what women want to be successful.”
Four different Wall Street investment banks valued Spanx at an average of $1 billion last year, which Forbes corroborated with the help of industry analysts. Blakely owns 100% of the private company and it has zero debt. It’s never taken outside investment and hasn’t spent a nickel on advertising. As of 2012, Spanx sells 200 products in 11,500 department stores, boutiques and online shops in 40 countries, according to Forbes’ estimates.
2012: Taylor Swift becomes first female artist in musical history to have two opening weeks with more than one million album sales; Marissa Mayer becomes the CEO of Yahoo.
Although she may have some personal issues, Swift has captured the hearts (and wallets) of America. In only one week, her album “Red” sold 1.2 million copies, and “Speak Now” sold over 1 million in the first week.
Mayer, Google’s 20th employee, accepted the CEO position at Yahoo when she was only 37 years old. She generated significant discussion on maternity leave after it was revealed that she was pregnant when she accepted the job. This month, Mayer again made headlines with her ban on working from home.
2013: Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In comes out.
Sandberg’s work, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead came out last year. The book delves into the many difficulties women face when attempting to maintain a tough stance in their careers while also managing their home lives successfully. Sandberg gave an famous TEDTalk on this topic in 2010 which inspired her to expand upon her ideas further in writing form. Her novel has made quite an impact and continues to be popular even now–so much so that Sony Pictures has already purchased the film rights. Nell Scovell, a experienced TV writer/director, has been hired by the studio to write the script, as Deadline.com reported. Sandberg helped Scovell write the book from which this film will take its themes; it won’t be based on Sandberg’s life story. Instead, all of Sandberg’s proceeds from the project will go to her foundation.