1916–first birth control clinic opened (NYC); Margaret Sanger championed it. Five hundred women came for information during the first ten days of the clinic’s operation. The clinic was soon closed down and Sanger was sentenced to prison for 30 days for her participation.
The Jane Collective (1969-73) was an underground abortion service started by women when they realized that many illegal abortion providers were not doctors. The collective performed more than 12,000 abortions, for about $25.00 per procedure — on loan, if the woman was unable to pay at the time.
Emma Goldman played a pivotal role in anarchist political philosophy during the first half of the twentieth century; covering a variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Despite using gender politics in her argumentations, she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and women’s suffrage.
Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian Early Baroque painter. She was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and painted pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible. Her best-known image, Judith Beheading Holofernes shows the decapitation of Holofernes, a scene of horrific struggle and blood-letting.
”Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early woman’s movement. She is credited with initiating the first organized woman’s rights and woman’s suffrage movements in the United States.
Clarissa Harlowe “Clara” Barton was a pioneer American teacher, nurse, and humanitarian. She is best remembered for organizing the American Red Cross.
A 1961 Supreme Court case denied women jury rights because of their “special status.” Yet finally, in 1975 the Supreme Court reversed its position and now holds that women are a “distinctive group” and “sufficiently numerous and distinct from men” that jury pools without them are a violation of a defendant’s right to be tried before a true cross-section or the community.
International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. International Women’s Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed.
Alice Stokes Paul was an American suffragette and activist and the original author of a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution in 1923. The ERA did not not go to the Senate until 1972, it was approved and submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. Approval by 38 states was required — only 35 — voted in favor in time for the deadline. However, efforts to pass the ERA are still afoot.
During the American Civil War thousands of women in the North and South joined volunteer brigades. It was the first time in American history that women played a significant role in a war effort. By the end of the war, these experiences had expanded many Americans’ definitions of “true womanhood.”
Wilma Rudolph crossed the finish line to win one of her three gold medals at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Rudolph was the first American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals in a single olympics.
Harry Burn, a 24-year-old representative from East Tennessee, who until that time had fallen squarely in the anti-suffrage camp, received a note from his mother on August 18, 1920. Still clutching his mother’s letter, Burn said “aye” so quickly (to ratify Women’s Suffrage) that it took his fellow legislators a few moments to register his unexpected response. Thanks Miss Febb (Phoebe Ensminger Burn)!
Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was the first African American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. She famously sang at the Lincoln Memorial at the height of the struggle for civil rights.
Edith Wharton is the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921. Wharton won the prize for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence. Like many of Wharton’s books, The book was a critique of the insularity and hypocrisy of the upper class in turn-of-the-century New York.
Candace Pert is an American neuroscientist and pharmacologist who discovered the opiate receptor, the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain. Pert has also lectured worldwide on these and other subjects, including her theories on emotions and mind-body communication. Her popular book, “Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel“, (Scribner, 1997) expounds on her research and theories.
Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. Hooks utilizes a postmodern perspective to address race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media and feminism.
Author, Katherine O’Flaherty AKA Kate Chopin was an American author of short stories and novels. She is now considered by some to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century. The Awakening (1899), a realistic novel about the sexual and artistic awakening of a young mother who abandons her family, initially was condemned for its sexual frankness but was later acclaimed.
Little known facts about (Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt: Roosevelt served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations, where she oversaw the drafting and passage of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights. And she headed the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.
Bella Azbug was an American lawyer, Congresswoman, social activist and a leader of the Women’s Movement. She said, ” If we get a government that reflects more of what this country is really about, we can turn the century — and the economy — around.” good thinking!
Dr Mary Walker, a surgeon in the Civil War and was awarded The Medal of Honor for devoting herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months. She was an early suffragette, one of the earliest women physicians,and a champion for more comfortable clothing for women.
Enovid (a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone) used as an oral contraceptive was approved for short-term use in October 1960 by the federal Food and Drug Administration. FDA approval wasn’t guaranteed – the agency was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing doctors to prescribe drugs to healthy people and several objections turned on moral and religious, not scientific, objections to the pill.
Florence Griffith Joyner , nicknamed FloJo, won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. FloJo set world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter distances that have stood since 1988.
Ani DiFranco (born Angela Maria DiFranco) is an American Grammy Award-winning singer, guitarist, poet, and songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums for her own record company, Righteous Records (renamed Righteous Babe Records in 1994). Athough much of DiFranco’s material is autobiographical, it is often also strongly political; oncerned with contemporary social issues such as racism, sexism, sexual abuse, homophobia, reproductive rights, poverty, and war.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – New York City on March 25, 1911 – caused the deaths of 146 garment workers (recent immigrant Jewish and Italian women aged sixteen to twenty-three).The workers could not escape because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. The fire led to legislation requiring improved safety standards and the growth of International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.
Margaret Mead was one of the world’s most accomplished cultural anthropologists, introducing the western world to the ways of live of native cultures in remote areas of the globe. She said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1981. Yet, in spite of her accomplishments at law school, no law firm was willing to hire her as a lawyer due to her sex; one firm offered her a position as a legal secretary, which she declined. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States.
Rosalyn Yalow is a nuclear physicist who spent her life researching hormones. She was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize for Medicine. At the start of her career, obtained a part time position as secretary because she knew how to type. Not believing that any good graduate school would admit and provide financial support to a woman, Sussman took a job as a secretary and was hired on the condition that she studied stenography.
Margaret Chase Smith was a Republican Senator from Maine. She was the first woman to be elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate. She was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency at a major party’s convention (1964 Republican Convention, won by Barry Goldwater). She was a moderate and included with those known as the “Rockefeller Republicans.”
Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists. Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.
Patricia Roberts Harris served as the secretary of housing and urban development from 1977-1979 and was the first African American woman to be a member of a presidential cabinet. Harris was also the first African American woman appointed to a U.S. ambassadorship.