|Date ||Select Timeline of Events in Modern World History Reflecting |
the Status of Women
| ||Corsican Republic grants constitutional universal suffrage to adults aged 25 and over, until they are annexed by France. |
|State of New Jersey’s constitution allows women to vote, but the right is rescinded in 1807 which then restricts votes to white males only. |
| ||Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention held in New York, USA. |
Married Women’s Property Act passes in New York, most comprehensive state law yet allowing women to maintain control of their own property and financial assets, which had previously been turned over to husbands upon marriage.
| ||American women’s rights activist Lucy Stone marries Henry Blackwell and publicly declares their “Marriage Protest” at their wedding. Blackwell renounces all non-mutual rights given legally to husbands after marriage, including the rights to the woman’s person and exclusive guardianship of children. |
| ||Passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. |
| ||Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Women’s Suffrage Association and begin lobbying for the enfranchisement of women in the U.S. |
| ||Susan B. Anthony and 13 other American suffragists cast votes in the presidential election, claiming their 14th Amendment rights. They are arrested two weeks later. |
| ||New Zealand is the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. |
| ||The Nordic (Scandinavian) countries give women equal voting rights, followed by Russia, most Eastern European nations, Germany, Austria, and Canada. |
Margaret Sanger opens the first birth control clinic in the U.S.
| ||The United States grants equal suffrage to women through passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. |
| ||More European nations grant women the vote, including Italy, U.K. (1928), and France. Women are also granted the right in some Latin American countries, Turkey (1926) and South Africa (whites only). |
Women are employed throughout wartime societies.
U.S. elects first female Governor (Wyoming).
Aviator Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic Ocean alone.
| ||The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is established as part of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). |
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted by the UN General Assembly.
Women are granted the right to vote in more Asian, African, and Middle Eastern countries.
| ||China and India extend voting to women. |
| ||Women’s suffrage continues to be extended as many colonies receive their independence in Africa and Asia. |
The Convention on the Political Rights of Women adopted by the UN General Assembly.
| ||Equal Pay Act passed in U.S. |
| ||1964 Civil Rights Act is passed in U.S. prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race or gender. |
National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
Indira Gandhi is elected Prime Minister of India.
| ||Golda Meier becomes Prime Minister of Israel. |
Switzerland becomes one of the last European countries to grant women the vote. Less than 20 nations have yet to achieve gender parity in suffrage rights by this point.
| ||In the U.S., the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is signed but fails to get enough votes for ratification. |
U.S. Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in education and sports.
In Roe v Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that a woman’s right to abortion is protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Isabel Peron becomes President of Argentina.
| ||International Women’s Year is declared by the UN. |
First UN World Conference on Women is held in Mexico City launching the UN Decade for Women. NGOs participate in parallel conference.
| ||Only 11 countries still have not extended the vote to women (non-democracies excluded). |
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. Known as the international bill of rights for women, it contains protections and obligations by states to promote and enforce women’s rights.
Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister of the U.K.
| ||Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice in 1981. |
Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first female U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate in 1984.
UN Third World Conference on Women is held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985.
| ||Center for Women’s Global Leadership is formed. |
Corazon Aquino becomes first female President of the Philippines.
Benazir Bhutto becomes the first female Prime Minster of Pakistan.
Mary Robinson becomes President of Ireland.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is passed.
| ||World Conference on Human Rights is held in Vienna, Austria in 1993 affirming that “the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.” |
International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo focuses on family planning and women’s empowerment.
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Kim Campbell becomes the first female Prime Minister of Canada; Tansu Ciller becomes the first female PM of Turkey. Janet Reno becomes the first female U.S. Attorney-General.
The Violation Against Women Act is passed in U.S.
| ||Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing outlines program of action and critical areas of concern for implementing CEDAW. NGO forum is held again. It is the largest UN gathering in history. |
| ||Madeline Albright becomes first U.S. female Secretary of State. |
International Criminal Court created.
U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team wins gold medal at Olympics.
Beijing +5 Special Session of the General Assembly is held to strategize about CEDAW’s implementation in the 21st Century.
Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery is held in Tokyo prosecuting WWII abuses against women.
| ||Millennium Development Goals outline strategy for eradicating poverty, with specific focus on women and girls. |
International Criminal Court is ratified despite lack of U.S. support.
Seven out of 18 elected judges are women.
Condoleezza Rice becomes the first African American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.
Rwanda elects a record number of female Parliamentarians, surpassing Sweden in having the most number of women in government.
Wangari Maathai becomes the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf becomes President of Liberia, and the first female African Head of State.
Kuwait grants women the right to vote.
Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives.
| ||Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman from a major political party to have a serious chance at her party’s nomination in a U.S. presidential race. |
The Afghani Parliament approves a new Shia family code dictating specific restrictions on Shi’ite women, sparking international protests. The laws are subsequently judged to be in violation of the Afghani Constitution that protects women’s rights equally.
U.S. President Obama vows to repeal the “global gag rule” and to restore U.S. funding for family planning programs worldwide.
Special sub-committee is formed on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to address gender issues internationally. As chair, Senator Barbara Boxer has declared passing CEDAW as one of her major goals.
Obama Administration has CEDAW under review with the Department of Justice, in preparation for submitting its passage to the Senate.