As we come to an end of National Women’s History Month, we wanted to celebrate the advances in Women’s rights over the years. In 1916 Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States Congress; she ran in 1916 as a progressive Republican and successfully served one term in the House of Representatives.
The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, granting women the full right to vote. The law passed by one vote, in the state of Tennessee. Harry Burn cast the winning vote while carrying a note in his pocket from his mother encouraging him to support women’s suffrage. Women in the working world emerged in the 1940′s during World War II. The men went off to war and women were forced to take roles in factory jobs. Women were not just filling traditional female roles, though; many women were recruited to make weapons for the war. Their small and delicate hands were perfect for handling dangerous explosives carefully.
The Civil Rights Act and the EEOC Act were both passed in 1964. The Civil Rights Act bans employment discrimination on the basis of race and gender. The EEOC Act investigates cases and proposed penalties for sexual discrimination in the job place. Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, in 1981. Reagan also nominated Jeane Kirkpatrick as the first woman to serve as an ambassador in the United Nations.
Recent women’s history has been an age of politics. Females have taken more roles and responsibility in the United States’ government. Bill Clinton appointed Madeleine Albright as the first Secretary of State and Janet Reno as the first female United States’ Attorney General. Hillary Clinton was the First Lady elected to the United States’ Senate in 2000. Condoleezza Rice was the first African-American Secretary of State and Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House.
Women are continuing to make great strides in every industry every day. They are balancing their careers and their families. Looking back on the contributions of women over the past century serves as inspiration for what women can accomplish in the next 100 years.