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10 Important Events for Women in History

Updated on April 6, 2020

History is full of many events and can be viewed from many different angles. The history of women seems to be non-existent until a litle over a hundred years ago. Yes,in these past few years, women have made history. But women have not impacted history just in those years.

Many events down through the ages have had a large impact in the history of women and helped to advance them in society. Below are a few events that have helped progress the power of women. Some you have heard of. Some you have not.


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19th US Amendment

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

We take our freedoms and privilages of today for granted. We forget that our ancestors didn't have all we have today. Women in the US today go to the polls and vote. They have the right to help choose presidents, mayors, and members of congress. All of that is due to the 19th Amendment of the United States Consitution.

Women were very limited in the power they had in society and politics. They were not allowed to have any official say in the government that ruled their very society. It took the sacrifice of the Suffrage Movement to bring about the 19th Amendment that gives us the ability to vote today.

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Amelia Earhart

This is one woman who is always mentioned when it comes to the great moments of women's history. Amelia Earhart did much to help women obtain equal rights in America. She pushed boundaries. She pushed society to look beyond the moment and embrace the possibilities of the future.

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. she attempted to be the first to fly around the world, but fate was not on her side. She disappeared. Remains on a small island are reputed to be hers. Tests are continually being done to determine if they are hers are not. Her death remains one of the world's greatest mysteries, but her life gave women much to strive for and large shoulders to stand on.

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Sandra Day O'Connor

The 19th Amendmen did much for women, but that didn't mean that suddenly women could move in areas that had been forbidden to them in the past. They still had to push open doors and break glass ceilings. One of the biggest break throughs came from Sanda Day O'Connor, the first female justice of the Supreme Court.

Women could vote. They began to hold positions outside of the home. To become a judge was something, but to become a Supreme Court Jusitce was monumental. Mrs. O'Conoor gave women hope that they could go anywhere men could. Nothing could be denied them if they pushed and strived to reach for the stars.

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Elizabeth I

Only men could rule. Okay, a few women were allowed when no men could be found within the legitimate lines of succession to any throne. Henry VIII needed sons badly. He had one with a mistress who could never sit on the throne and one through Jane Seymour. But that son was sickly and was only on the throne a few short years. Mary took over but died. The throne of England fell to a young Protestant girl, Elizabeth. She couldn't do it alone, her advisors told her. She had to have a husband. Well, don't tell a woman what to do. She'll show you exactly what she can and will do.

Elizabeth I refused to let a man rule her. She married herself to the country and gave her all to it. She surpassed her father and his father in making the country a mighty kingdom and gave her successors something strong to build upon. She showed the world that a woman could be a great leader.

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Loretta Walsh

Too many women who helped equality are forgotten over the years. That is such a shame. Women such as Loretta Walsh get lost in history, but we won't let that happen. Walsh is one we should all applaud and thank.

I can't summarize her greatness better than the Navy:

Historical records reflect that on March 17, 1917, the first woman to enlist in the Navy was Loretta Perfectus Walsh. She was born on April 22, 1896, in Philadelphia and thus had the distinction of being the first woman to service in any of the U.S. armed forces in other than a nursing assignment. Until Walsh’s enlistment, women had served as Navy nurses but were civilian employees with few benefits.

Walsh, aged 20, was enlisted on March 17, 1917, as a Yeoman(F), all of whom were popularly referred to as “Yeomanettes.” During World War I a reported 11,274 female Yeoman(F) served in the Navy. The Yeoman(F) women primarily served in clerical positions. They received the same benefits and responsibilities as men, including identical pay ($28.75 per month) and were treated as veterans after the war.

On March 21, 1917, Walsh was sworn in as Chief Yeoman, becoming the first woman Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. She served her active duty at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia and when World War I ended, Walsh and all the Yeoman(F) personnel were released from active duty. As Walsh had enlisted in the Naval Reserve for a 4-year enlistment she continued on inactive reserve status, receiving a modest retainer pay, until the end of her enlistment on March 17, 1921. (http://navylog.navymemorial.org/walsh-loretta)

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Valentina Tereshkova and Sally Ride

The first women to break barriers are honored by us all. To Americans, Sally Ride was the first in space. Yes, she was the first Amerian in space and should get an ovation for it. But we forget to honor Valentina Tereshkova as the first woman to take women out of this world.

These two women showed that women were good for more than cooking, cleaing, and giving birth. They showed their skills in science and math as well as the ability to go to the stars. Since their heroic efforts, many women have been involved in the space program from supportive roles all the way to being on the spacecraft.

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World War II

WWII was a lot of things, most of them bad. But when it came to women's rights and abilitiy to get into the workforce, WWII was a catalyst to changing society around the world. With most of the men enlisted in the armed forces and doing what they could to fight, women had to leave their homes and do many of the jobs that had been forbidden to them in the past. Women took over the workforce.

After WWII, women had a foothold in industries that they never had before. Many found themselves having to support their families with husbands you never came back. And many found that they liked not being forced to stay home and just cook and clean. Opportunities opened up for women that would change society.


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All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

Have you ever watched the movie A League of Their Own? It is the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. During WWII, this was one of the surprising venues women found a job. Most of the men were called up to serve in the war. That meant one of America's greatest pasttimes felt a large hole. Owners of the teams decided to bring in women to play.

The league didn't last long. Once the war was over, male baseball players returned to take up their positions, but this was a large step for women. This showed the country that women did have what it took to be athletes. While it would take many more years before women's professional teams were established, it was a step in the right direction.

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Equal Pay Act

The 1960s was a big time of change. In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was signed that said a man could not be paid more than a woman for the exact same job. Employers could not descriminate based on gender when it came to pay. Before this act, most women were paid considerably less than their male counterparts.

This was a very large step for women in breaking down the barriers that prevented them from being treated It pushed equality through the courts and gave women power to find jobs that paid based on their qualifications and not their gender.

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Fatima Al-Fihri

Women didn't start influencing the world in the 19th century. They have been creating ripples since Eve gave into temptation in the Garden. In fact, one woman who lived over a thousand years ago did something no man had ever done before and have tried to outdue since. Fatima Al-Fihri founded the world's first university.

The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco was established in 859. "Fatima’s foresight and commitment, alongside her selfless contribution towards championing intellectual advancement, led to the establishment of a monumental university. The remarkable legacy of her dedication and empowering endeavour is well-deserved and one that is a source of inspiration for all." (https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/articles/fatima-al-fihri-founder-worlds-first-university/) May we stand and thank a woman who gave education to the world and inspired many. Don't forget her name!

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      You showcased some important dates in history and some women who make their mark upon history as well.

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