When we broaden our minds, we broaden our horizons!
A book for young readers, ages 7-10 is "If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights," by Anne Kamma. http://www.amazon.com/Lived-When-Women-Their-Rights/dp/0439748690
A great website to visit is www.nwhm.org The National Women's History Museum, whose mission it is to educate, inspire, empower, and shape the future by integrating women's history into the culture and history of the United States.
In examining women's history, we recognize that African women were brought to this country to work for no pay. Even with ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865, which put an end to slavery in America, it wasn’t until 1868 that freed slaves were granted citizenship and protection under the law. The African American woman’s reality has been much different than the white woman’s experience.
1800s -- Once a woman was married, she relinquished all rights to her property. She could not sign legal documents or be guardian to her own children. Elizabeth Packard, among others, worked tirelessly for women's property rights and the rights of the mentally ill; culminating in The Packard Laws.
1848 -- Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY, organized by Elizabeth Cody Stanton and Lucretia Mott, officially kicked off the first women's rights movement.
1917 - 1918 -- U.S. participation in WW I. In 1918, in a speech before Congress, President Woodrow Wilson spoke in support of women's suffrage, "We have made partners of the women in this war...shall we admit them only to a participation of suffering, sacrifice, and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?" (Reference: history-dot-com)
1920 -- Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed giving women the right to vote.
1941 - 1945 -- U.S. participation in WWII. Women were told it was their patriotic duty to take up jobs vacated by men who had gone off to war (the fictional image of Rosie the Riveter became a symbol of loyal, patriotic women doing their part for the war). Government-subsidized daycare became available to enable women with children to work. At the end of the war, women were told it was time to return to their homes; the men returning from war would need their jobs back.
1949 -- Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex -- a powerful analysis of women as second class citizens, expressing ambivalence about "limitations imposed upon woman by her sex."
1960 -- Legalization of birth control pill, fueling a wave of women able to pursue careers unpunctuated by pregnancy.
1963 -- Equal Pay Act; prohibiting employers from paying women less than men for the same work. Equal pay for equal work. (Note: the gap remains.)
1964 -- Civil Rights Act; prohibiting discrimination in employment based on "race" or "sex" (their words, not mine...I prefer "gender" and "ethnicity"..there is but one race, the human race). EEOC established to enforce the law.
1963 -- Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique which described women's restlessness with being confined to the domestic realm; fueling the second women's rights movement. Since this movement left out non-white, young, LGBTQA women, a "Third Wave" women's movement began in the 1970s.
1973 -- Roe v. Wade, The Supreme Court ruled that the states were forbidden from outlawing or regulating any aspect of abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.
1976 -- The first marital rape law in enacted in Nebraska, making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife.
1994 -- Violence Against Women Act -- see this White House fact sheet for more info.