Friday, March 6, 2015

Man, I feel like a woman

March 31, 1776.  Abigail Adams, wife of second United States president John Adams and mother of sixth U.S. president John Quincy Adams, urges her husband to "remember the ladies," for women "will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."

1784.  Hanna Adams is the first American woman to support herself by writing.

1826.  The first public high schools for girls open in New York City and Boston.

1833.  Oberlin College in Ohio opens as the first co-educational college in the U.S.

1869.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association in order to win the constitutional right to vote.

1893.  Colorado becomes the first state to grant women the right to vote.  Utah and Idaho follow suit three years later.

1916.  Jeanette Rankin becomes the first woman to serve in Congress.

August 18, 1920.  Women are granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

1921.  American novelist Edith Wharton becomes the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Age of Innocence.

1933.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Frances Perkins as the Secretary of Labor, making her the first American female cabinet member.

1941-1945.  The outbreak of World War II necessitates women in the workforce.  After the war, many women returned to their domestic roles in the home, but many remained working while their husbands went back to school under the G.I. Bill.  Though female numbers in the workforce dropped off after the war, they never returned to their lower pre-war levels.  It is also during this time that America's pastime is played in skirts.  During its twelve-year existence, more than 600 female athletes had the phrase "professional baseball player" attached to their names.

1972.  Title IX of the Education Amendments bans gender discrimination in public schools resulting in the substantial increase enrollment of women in athletic programs and professional schools.

1974.  The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy becomes the first U.S. service academy to enroll women.

1993.  President Bill Clinton appoints Janet Reno to serve as the first woman U.S. Attorney General.

2007.  Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

2015.  Where are we now?

March is Women's History Month.  The fight for equality is one that will never end.  As we continually strive for improvement, we also tip our caps to the women in sports who have paved the way for female athletes and non-athletes everywhere.

We are working toward an environment in which we are judged by our character and abilities, not by race, gender, sexuality, or religion.  As my high school soccer t-shirt reads, "I'm an athlete, and I'm proud of that athlete.  It's not a girl thing, it's not a guy thing; it's a skill thing."