Women's Rights 1921-Present

  • The American Birth Control League

    The American Birth Control League
    Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which evolves into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
  • National Council of Negro Women

    National Council of Negro Women
    Mary McLeod Bethune organizes the National Council of Negro Women, a coalition of black women's groups that lobbies against job discrimination, racism, and sexism.
  • prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information

    prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information
    The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail is modified and birth controlinformation is no longer classified as obscene. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, birth control advocates are engaged in numerous legal suits.
  • Ellen Jane Willis

    Ellen Jane Willis
    Ellen Jane Willis was an American left-wing political essayist, journalist, activist, feminist, and pop music critic. Willis was born in Manhattan to a Jewish family, and grew up in the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens in New York City. She was one of the few women working in music criticism during its inaugural years, when it was predominantly a male-dominated field.
  • Jo Freeman

    Jo Freeman
    Jo Freeman is an American feminist, political scientist, writer and attorney. As a student at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s, she became active in organizations working for civil liberties and the civil rights movement. She went on to do voter registration and community organization in Alabama and Mississippi and was an early organizer of the women's liberation movement.
  • The first lesbian organization in the United States

    The first lesbian organization in the United States
    The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian organization in the United States, is founded. Although DOB originated as a social group, it later developed into a political organization to win basic acceptance for lesbians in the United States.
  • Susan Charlotte Faludi

    Susan Charlotte Faludi
    Susan Charlotte Faludi is an American humanist, journalist and author. She won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1991, for a report on the leveraged buyout of Safeway Stores, Inc., a report that the Pulitzer Prize committee commended for depicting the "human costs of high finance".
  • The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.

    The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the world’s first commercially produced birth-control bill–Enovid-10, made by the G.D. Searle Company of Chicago, Illinois.
  • The President's Commission on the Status of Women

    The President's Commission on the Status of Women
    President John Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care.
  • The Feminine Mystique

    The Feminine Mystique
    Betty Friedan publishes her highly influential book The Feminine Mystique, which describes the dissatisfaction felt by middle-class American housewives with the narrow role imposed on them by society. The book becomes a best-seller and galvanizes the modern women's rights movement.
  • Equal Pay Act

     Equal Pay Act
    Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.
  • Supreme Court

    Supreme Court
    In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court strikes down the one remaining state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples.
  • The National Organization for Women

    The National Organization for Women
    The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. The largest women's rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.
  • Lyndon Johnson's affirmative action policy

    Lyndon Johnson's affirmative action policy
    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 must take active measures to ensure that women as well as minorities enjoy the same educational and employment opportunities as white males
  • The EEOC

    The EEOC
    The EEOC rules that sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers are illegal. This ruling is upheld in 1973 by the Supreme Court, opening the way for women to apply for higher-paying jobs hitherto open only to men.
  • The "no fault" divorce law

    The  "no fault" divorce law
    California becomes the first state to adopt a "no fault" divorce law, which allows couples to divorce by mutual consent. By 1985 every state has adopted a similar law. Laws are also passed regarding the equal division of common property.
  • Kate Millett

    Kate Millett
    Katherine Murray "Kate" Millett is an American feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist. She attended Oxford University and was the first American woman to be awarded a postgraduate degree with first-class honors by St. Hilda's. She has been described as "a seminal influence on second-wave feminism", and is best known for her 1970 book Sexual Politics,"[
  • Ms. Magazine

    Ms. Magazine
    Ms. Magazine is first published as a sample insert in New York magazine; 300,000 copies are sold out in 8 days. The first regular issue is published in July 1972. The magazine becomes the major forum for feminist voices, and cofounder and editor Gloria Steinem is launched as an icon of the modern feminist movement.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment

    The Equal Rights Amendment
    The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is passed by Congress and sent 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 failed to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.
  • Title IX

    Title IX
    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 athletics programs and professional schools increases dramatically.
  • Terror, Torture, and Resistance

    Terror, Torture, and Resistance
    By Andrea Rita Dworkin who was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women.
  • Federal penalties for sex offenders

     Federal penalties for sex offenders
    The Violence Against Women Act tightens federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for
  • Inga Muscio

    Inga Muscio
    Inga Muscio is an American feminist, anti-racist writer and public speaker.She became famous after the publication of her 1998 Seal Press book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence,which called for women to break down boundaries between themselves and their bodies, and each other.
  • Sex and Social Justice

    Sex and Social Justice
    In Sex and Social Justice, Martha Nussbaum delves into these questions and emerges with a distinctive conception of feminism that links feminist inquiry closely to the important progress that has been made during the past few decades in articulating theories of both national and global justice.
  • lifting military restriction on women

    lifting military restriction on women
    In Jan. 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the ban on women serving in combat roles would be lifted. In a Jan. 9 letter to Panetta urging the change Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen.