By Justin Nguyen
The push for women’s rights can be dated back to the 19th century, when the Seneca Falls Convention was held in 1848. Convention organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton befriended teacher Susan B. Anthony and the two sought to expand the 14th and 15th Amendments, which provide citizenship / equal protection and the right to vote, respectively, to include women.
The two later focused their goal on the latter and founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), while a similar organization known as the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was also created. The two groups often clashed with one another due to conflicting interests, but merged in 1890 to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Prior to the NAWSA’s formation, women’s suffrage was only allowed in the state of Wyoming allowed. Other western states later followed suit with support from the NAWSA; by 1920, Congress agreed to add the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, granting all women the right to vote.
The 1960s saw a period of change for civil rights, including those of women. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy hoped to suppress gender discrimination with the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), appointing Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman; two years later, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act to close the wage gap between men and women. Progress towards ending such prejudice in the workplace continued with the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII, which banned employing workers based on their race and sex, though it was expanded under Lyndon B. Johnson, whose Executive Order 11375 banned gender-based discrimination in particular.
In the military, women saw little to no participation in combat-based positions for decades, During the 2010s, they began to see involvement in such roles. In 2015, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver became the first women to graduate from the Army Ranger School. A year later, the United States Armed Forces opened up all military-related jobs to women, provided they meet certain performance standards.