Women Today: Building on a Legacy of Achievement

Women Today: Building on a Legacy of Achievement

As a gen-x woman who started her journey in the deep south, I have a strong appreciation for National Women’s History Month. Seeing people and large organizations come together to celebrate female empowerment is fantastic!

While it may seem we have a long way to go to achieve a gender-equal world, we’ve already come a long way. However, our personal stories of inspiration and triumph are shaped by those who have stood and struggled before us.

Here is a look at some of the most important accomplishments from the past 175 years.

A History of Women’s Achievements

I wanted to look back at important milestones in the struggle for equal rights to truly appreciate all we have and how far we have yet to go. So, here’s a quick look back at what we have achieved to make the world more equal for women today:

1848

The first women’s rights convention was held. Men and women signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which sparked women’s activism. Please note where women started in the USA:

  • We could not vote.
  • As a married woman, you were under your husband’s rule.
  • Single women who owned property were taxed as though they could vote – but they couldn’t.
  • College education was not available to women.
  • Most professions did not allow women.

1920 (yes, 72 years later)

The 19th amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote. This was the first big step toward our equality.

1960

The FDA approved a birth control pill. For the first time, women could choose when or if to become mothers. This is a big step forward for ladies seeking careers.

1964

The Civil Rights Act was passed. Discrimination based on “sex” was a late addition to the bill, and it is often debated whether sex was added to ensure the bill’s defeat.

1972

Title IX was signed, ensuring women an equal right to education.

1973

My favorite – The Battle of the Sexes. Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets on primetime TV.

1981

The first woman – Sandra Day O’Connor – is sworn in as a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

2007

Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House. (Third in line for the top seat!)

2016

Hilary Clinton is the first woman nominated by a major party for the President of the United States.

2021

Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States.

Final Thoughts

Today’s young girls are starting out on a more even playing field than those of my generation. I am watching with great enthusiasm to see what they can accomplish in their lifetimes.

Ladies, it is your legacy now — go conquer the world!

What milestones or historical accomplishments do you remember in your lifetime? What do you think is the biggest hurdle to finally achieving true equality? Share your stories with me on LinkedIn or Twitter!

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Leighanne Lankford

Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, "playing it safe isn’t good enough." In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.
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Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, “playing it safe isn’t good enough.” In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.

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