The first protest march against the terrible conditions under which women worked in the textile and garment industries of the United States was held on March 8, 1857, in New York City. American women have decided that the anniversary of the march is a good time to honor women’s achievements and remember their goals.
You’ve come a long way baby. Women in the United States no longer fight for their right to vote. We have pretty much proved that we can be elected to and hold public office, although some campaigns waged against them have sexist overtones. Yet, we still fight a language bias insisting on Chairperson as opposed to Chairman. Though it seems silly at times, it has raised public awareness.
Women still have to fight other battles. At present, there is supposed to be legal protection against equal pay for equal work, but these laws are not always enforced. Women must still fight this battle. Discrimination against women in the hiring and promotion process is against the law also, but there still exists the “glass ceiling” in upper level jobs and plain prejudice in lower-level ones. Women are fighting the battle of sexual harassment, too, at work, in school, and in public places. These and other battles wage on.
Notable quotes by women:
- “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width as well.” —Diane Ackerman, quoted in Newsweek
- “Deliver me from your cold phlegmatic preachers, politicians, friends, lovers, and husbands.” —Abigail Adams, a letter to John Adams.
- “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.” —Susan B. Anthony, on the campaign for Divorce Law reform.
- “She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older-the natural sequence of an unnatural events.” —Jane Austin, Persuasion.
- “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” —Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
How many notable women do you know? Try the quiz below:
Groundbreaking Women Quiz
Instructions: Use reference materials and the Internet to answer the questions below. Read the question and circle the correct answer.
1) Former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (1880-1965) was the first woman to be appointed to a presidential cabinet. Which leader did she serve under?
a. Franklin D. Roosevelt
b. John F. Kennedy
c. Calvin Coolidge
2) Who was the first woman to run for vice-president on a major party ticket?
a. Sarah Palin
b. Geraldine Ferraro
c. Patsy Mink
4) Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927), a colorful reformer who advocated woman suffrage, free love, and socialism, was the first American woman to run for president. In which election was she a candidate?
5) Which scientist won two Nobel Prizes?
a. Linda Buck
b. Barbara McClintock
c. Marie Curie