Feminism Through the Ages

Women’s battle for equality dates back centuries. With each decade, we see change. An excellent way to celebrate the new year is to look back and appreciate the women who sacrificed to bring opportunities to women.

Sofia Ramirez

Seneca Falls Convention (1848)

Women were denied fundamental rights, including property ownership, voting, financial independence, and education. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an outspoken activist, organized the Seneca Falls Convention to advocate for women’s rights. Stanton and her supporters wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, which stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal.” These values parrot the Declaration of Independence but with gender equality. The Convention received bad press and public criticism, but it marked the beginning of the revolutionary Suffrage Movement.

First Female Presidential Candidate (1872)

Equal rights activist Victoria Woodhull despised the gender norms that kept women from essential jobs. In 1870, Woodhull and her sister, Lady Tennessee Celeste Claflin, Viscountess of Montserrat, also known as Tennie C., opened the first brokerage firm exclusively for women. Woodhull became a Suffrage leader and the first woman to run for president in 1872. Although she did not win, she set a precedent for women in government. Woodhull bravely faced the backlash of her actions to move equality forward. Though a woman has never won the presidency, America gets closer to this becoming a reality every year.

19th Amendment (1920)

Since the Seneca Falls Convention (1848), women took to the streets and the court, declaring their right to vote. The Suffrage Movement fostered the realization that women deserve a voice in economics and politics. As women flooded the workforce, they demanded recognition as capable members of society. In 1878, suffrage leaders proposed an amendment to the Constitution that allowed women to vote. Forty-two years later, in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified.

Birth Control Legalized (1960)

Although it’s still a controversial topic, women’s contraception has, until recently, been readily accessible and free of cost under most healthcare plans through the Affordable Care Act. In 1960, five years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested and authorized its use and legalized contraceptive, the fight continued. Birth control for unmarried women was banned in 1965 in 26 states. Today, it is normalized across America, including for non-contraceptive purposes.

Kamala Harris (2020)

Following Hilary Clinton’s unsuccessful effort to take the presidential seat, America welcomed Kamala Harris to take her place beside Joe Biden to become the first female vice president. Fifty-seven-year-old Kamala Harris grew up in Berkeley, CA, with an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Despite being a woman of color, she never let her mixed heritage or gender stop her from rising through the ranks and claiming her spot as Vice President of the United States of America.