Women's History Month

Women's History Milestones

Travel through our timeline and meet some amazing women who helped shape our country's history.

March 01, 2011

1851

Sojourner Truth delivers her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio. The former slave spent 40 years of her life preaching a message of equality for all people.

Susan B. Anthony stands beside her longtime friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Susan B. Anthony stands beside her longtime friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

1869

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony organize the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for women's rights, especially the right to vote. More than a century later, Anthony was honored when the U.S. Mint created a coin using her image.

1920

After 72 years of struggle, women win the right to vote with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Shortly afterwards, the League of Women Voters is formed to push for more reforms.

1942

About 350,000 women serve in the armed forces during World War II. Many more provide support services. About 100,000 of those women serve in the U.S. Navy as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).

1968

Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African American woman elected to Congress. Four years later, the New Yorker became the first black person to run for President in the Democratic primaries.

1972

Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), 49 years after it was first introduced! ERA calls for equal rights for both men and women. However, a constitutional amendment requires both Congress' and the states' approval, and the measure later failed when too few states approved it.

A federal law known as Title IX ensures equal funding for both male and female sports in schools. As a result, women and girls have more opportunities to participate in sports. In fact, many female Olympic athletes say Title IX gave them the opportunity to attend college, participate in sports, and receive athletic scholarships.

1981

Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. At the time, just six percent of all federal judges were women.

1983

Sally Ride becomes America's first female astronaut when she spends six days in space. Today, about 25 percent of NASA's astronauts are women.

2002-2005

Young women make their mark in the music industry. Singer, songwriter and piano whiz Alicia Keys took home five Grammy Awards in 2002, and four more in 2005. Piano-playing singer and songwriter Norah Jones and her album Come Away with Me snagged eight Grammys in 2003. Jones won three more of music's biggest awards in 2005.

2005

Hillary Clinton becomes the first First Lady to be elected to public office. She joins Congress as a U.S. Senator from New York.

2009

President Barack Obama nominates Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic American and only the third woman to serve on the nation's top court.

Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State on January 21, 2009. As the President's top advisor on foreign policy, Clinton is the most powerful woman in President Barack Obama's Cabinet. She is the third woman in U.S. history to hold the important position. After four years on the job, she stepped down at the start of 2013. 

2012

Taylor Swift releases her fourth album, Red. In just one week, the album sold 1.2 million copies. Her previous album, Speak Now, also sold more than one million copies in the first week. Swift becomes the first female artist in musical history to have two opening weeks with more than one million album sales.

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