Congress and the American Dream- Women

  • First States Grant Women Right to Vote

    Colorado became the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote. Utah and Idaho follow suit in 1896, Washington State in 1910, California in 1911, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona in 1912, Alaska and Illinois in 1913, Montana and Nevada in 1914, New York in 1917; Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma in 1918.
  • National Women's Trade Union League

    The National Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) was established to advocate for improved wages and working conditions for women.
  • National Women's Party

    Alice Paul and Lucy Burns established the Congressional Union to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote. The group was later renamed the National Women's Party.
  • Jeannette Rankin

    Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first women to serve in either branch of Congress. She was elected at a time when women in most states were not allowed to vote.
  • Women in the Workforce- WWI

    A large number of women entered the workforce during World War I. They worked in many male dominated jobs, such as building and maintaining vehicles and machinery.
  • Susan B. Anthony

    The federal woman suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878, was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and then sent to the states for ratification.
  • Bainbridge Colby

    On August 26, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
  • Mary Anderson

    The Department of Labor created the Women's Bureau to collect information about women in the workforce and safeguard good working conditions for women. Mary Anderson served as the first director of the new organization.
  • Amelia Earhart

    Amelia Earhart set the woman’s autogiro altitude record of 18,415 feet. The following year, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
  • Hattie W. Caraway

    Hattie W. Caraway of Arkansas became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Rebecca Felton of Georgia had previously been appointed to the Senate, but served just one day.
  • Frances Perkins

    Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins became the first woman cabinet officer.
  • Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes

    Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes beat male pilots in the Bendix Trophy Race, the first victory of women over men in a race which both men and women could enter.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act

    The Fair Labor Standards Act codified the 40-hour workweek, paid overtime, minimum wages, and child labor laws.
  • Rosie the Riveter

    By 1945, 18 million women were in the U.S. labor force, an increase of 50 percent from 1940. "Rosie the Riveter" became a symbol for women's role in the defense industry.
  • Affirmative Action Policy of 1965

    Executive Order 11375 expands President Lyndon Johnson's affirmative action policy of 1965 to cover discrimination based on gender. As a result, federal agencies and contractors take active measures to ensure that women as well as minorities enjoy the same educational and employment opportunities as white males.
  • Gender Segregated Job Ads Ruled Illegal

    The EEOC rules that sex-segregated help wants ads in newspapers claimed illegal. The ruling is upheld in 1973 by the Supreme Court, opening the way for women to apply for higher-paying jobs previously open only to men.
  • Equal Pay Act

    In Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., a U.S. Court of Appeals rules that jobs held by men and women have to be "substantially equal" but not "identical" to fall under the protection of the Equal Pay Act.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments

    Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "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 educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletic programs and professional schools increase dramatically.
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and sends it to the states for ratification. Originally drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, the amendment reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The amendment died in 1982 when it fails to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.
  • Corning Glass Works v. Brennan

    In Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that employers can not justify paying women lower wages because that was what they traditionally received under the "going market rate." A wage differential occurring "simply because men would not work at the low rates paid to women" becomes unacceptable.
  • Retirement Equity Act

    The Retirement Equity Act amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by addressing women’s rights not included in the original 1974 version of ERISA—including survivorship benefits, vesting, and domestic relations.
  • Geraldine Ferraro

    Geraldine Ferraro is nominated as the first female vice presidential candidate by the Democratic presidential candidate, Walter Mondale.
  • Price-Waterhouse v. Hopkins

    Price-Waterhouse v. Hopkins
    In this court case, Ann Hopkins wasn't granted a partner of Price- Waterhouse and sued for gender discrimination, but the court ruled that there were other reasons for her not being a partner even if gender discrimination wasn't a factor. Title VII makes it illegal to racially discriminate, or gender discriminate.
  • United Auto Workers v. Johnson Controls

    United Auto Workers v. Johnson Controls
    Does a policy barring the participation of potentially fertile and pregnant women in occupations that could be detrimental to their reproductive capacities constitute sexual discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Court ruled that women can make their own decisions about work as long as they can preform.
  • Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)

    The Act provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted.
  • Unites States v. Virginia

    The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) boasted a long and proud tradition as Virginia's only exclusively male public undergraduate higher learning institution. The United States brought suit against Virginia and VMI alleging that the school's male-only admissions policy was unconstitutional insofar as it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. In a 7-to-1 decision, the Court held that VMI's male-only admissions policy was unconstitutional.
  • M.L.B. v. S.L.J.

    This was a United States Supreme Court case regarding a controversy over the Fourteenth Amendment. The Petitioner, M.L.B, lost custody of her children and cannot afford to appeal the decision. She argues that such a fundamental right requires the State to pay for the costs of her appeal. The Supreme Court decided that a state may not condition appeals from trial court decrees terminating parental rights on the affected parent's ability to pay record preparation fees.
  • Saenz v. Roe

    This was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States discussed whether there is a constitutional right to travel from one state to another.
  • Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services

    Joseph Oncale, a male, filed a complaint against his employer, Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., alleging that he was sexually harassed by male co-workers, in their workplace, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On appeal from a decision supporting a district court's ruling against Oncale, the Supreme Court granted certiorari. A male can be discriminated against by members of the same sex under Title VII.
  • Burlington Industries v. Ellerth

  • Kolstad v. American Dental Association

    The Supreme Court rules in Kolstad v. American Dental Association that a woman can sue for punitive damages for sex discrimination if the anti-discrimination law was violated with malice or indifference to the law, even if that conduct was not especially severe.
  • Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs

    May an individual sue a State for money damages in federal court for violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993? The Court held that State employees may recover money damages in federal court in the event of the State's failure to comply with the FMLA's family-care provision.
  • Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa

    Catharina Costa was fired from her job as a heavy equipment operator at Desert Palace Casino. She filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit, charging that the firing was the culmination of discrimination that had occurred during her employment. The question before us in this case is whether a plaintiff must present direct evidence of discrimination in order to obtain a mixed-motive instruction under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They held that direct evidence is not required.
  • President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
    President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, invalidating the 2007 Supreme Court ruling. The act allows employees to contest pay discrimination 180 days after any discriminatory paycheck.
  • Supreme Court dismisses Walmart v. Dukes

    Dukes, a current Wal-Mart employee, and others have alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion policies and practices in Walmart stores. The Supreme Court dismisses the case, saying it cannot determine whether all 1.5 million plaintiffs were victims of discrimination.
  • Record number of women elected to Congress

    20 female senators and 81 female House members were elected to congress in 2012.
  • Census Bureau finds that women are primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households with children up to 18, up from 10 percent in 1960.