Women's activism through US history

1774-1780s: Women colonists join a boycott of British goods and aid troops in the Revolutionary War. Some disguise themselves as men and fight.

1820s-1840s: Hundreds of women's voluntary associations, such as the American Female Reform Society, spring up to attack vices - from prostitution, to poor working conditions for women, to slavery.

1836: Antislavery public lectures by Sarah and Angelina Grimke are attacked as "unnatural" activism.

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1848: The world's first women's rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. A declaration signed by 68 women and 32 men sets the agenda for the women's rights movement. In later years, women's rights conventions attract thousands of participants.

1866: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, dedicated to the goal of universal suffrage. Women around the country attempt to cast ballots.

1869: Women shoe stitchers from six states form the first national women's labor organization, the Daughters of St. Crispin. In 1872, Congress mandates equal pay for equal work for female federal employees.

1874: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is founded to crusade against liquor sales. The WCTU later becomes an important force for suffrage.

1915: As many as 40,000 people march for suffrage in New York, the largest parade ever held in that city.

1917: More than 150 members of the National Woman's Party are imprisoned for picketing the White House for the right to vote.

1920: US Constitution is amended to give women the vote.

1945: Equal Pay for Equal Work bill is introduced, but does not pass until 1963.

1961: Women target nuclear testing in a 60-city, one-day strike. Organizers are later called before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

1963: Betty Friedan writes "The Feminine Mystique," a best-seller that lays the groundwork for the modern feminist movement. US law is amended in 1964 to bar gender discrimination by private employers.

1971: New York Radical Feminists holds speakouts on women's treatment by the criminal-justice system and rape. Rape-crisis centers begin to spring up across the country.

1972: Title IX bans gender discrimination in school sports.

1978: One hundred thousand people march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington. Ratification ultimately fails.

1980: Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of job discrimination. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) forms a powerful lobby against alcohol consumption.

1992: A record number of women run for public office, and win, in an election dubbed "Year of the Woman." Twenty-four are elected to the US House and six to the US Senate.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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