Important Dates in U.S. Women's History

Study important and monumental events in women's history with this timeline.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

A chronology of events in women's history in the United States, from the Salem Witch Trials in the seventeen century to the modern Supreme Court ruling against sexual harrassment in the workplace.

1637: Anne Hutchinson banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony for heresy

1692: The Salem Witch Trials, Salem, Massachusetts

1789: Abigail Adams makes plea to her husband, "Remember the ladies" in the new Constitution

1792: Sarah Pierce establishes first institution in America for higher education of women, in Litchfield, CT

1820: Susan B. Anthony's birthday, February 15

1847: Maria Mitchell discovers a new comet, wins a medal from the King of Denmark

1848: Seneca Falls Convention, first to discuss women's rights, July 19-20

1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes first licensed woman physician

1850: Harriet Tubman begins Underground Railroad to lead slaves to freedom

1851: The "Bloomer costume" adopted to urge dress reform for women

1855: Lucy Stone marries Henry Blackwell and keeps her birthname, inspiring generations to follow suit

1866: The Young Women's Christian Assoc. (YWCA) founded in Boston, MA

1869: Wyoming Territory grants women the vote in all elections, the first.

1881: Helen Hunt Jackson's book, A Century of Dishonor, calls attention to the unjust treatment of Native Americans

1885: Alice Paul's birthday, January 11

1889: Jane Addams and Ellen Starr found Hull House in Chicago, IL

1895: National Organization of Negro Women's Clubs organized in Boston, MA

1903: Women's Trade Union League founded to support working women

1912: Police close down Margaret Sanger's birth-control clinic

1912: Hadassah organized

1916: Jeannette Rankin elected to Congress, first woman

1917: National Woman's Party begins picketing White House for suffrage on July 14

1920: 19th Amendment (Woman Suffrage) ratified, August 26

1920: League of Women Voters founded

1920: Women's Bureau of Dept. of Labor formed

1921: American Birth Control League founded by Margaret Sanger

1922: Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City, results in protective legislation for workers, March 25

1923: Alice Paul proposes the Equal Rights Amendment, introduced in Congress every year since

1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross inaugurated, first woman governor in U.S., January 5

1926: Gertrude Ederle swims English Channel: first woman, breaks all records, August 6

1932: Amelia Earhart makes first transcontinental nonstop flight by a woman

1933: Frances Perkins is sworn in as Secretary of Labor, first woman in U.S. cabinet, March 4

1934: Babe Didrikson pitches a full inning for the Philadelphia Athletics (vs. Brooklyn Dodgers), March 6

1941-1945: Millions of women enter work force during World War II

1942: Women's services established by Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps

1948: Jacqueline Cochran becomes first woman to break the sound barrier, May 18

1955: Rosa Parks arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the Black Civil Rights Movement, December 1

1960: Enovid, first birth-control pill, goes on the market

1962: Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, calls attention to the dangers of agricultural pesticides

1963: Equal Pay Act passed by Congress

1963: Betty Friedan's book, Feminine Mystique, sparks the contemporary feminist movement

1964: Civil Rights Act outlaws sex discrimination

1966: National Organization for Women (NOW) organized

1968: Shirley Chisholm is first black woman elected to House

1972: Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in schools

1972: Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress and sent to states for ratification, March 22

1972: Ms. Magazine launched

1973: Roe v. Wade overturns state laws restricting right to abortion

1981: Sandra Day O'Connor first woman seated on the U.S. Supreme Court

1982: Equal Rights Amendment fails

1983: Sally Ride is first American woman to ride into space

1984: Geraldine Ferraro is first woman nominated for vice president by a major party

1987: Census Bureau reports average woman earns 68 cents for every dollar earned by a man

1992: Record-breaking number of women elected to Congress

1993: Janet Reno is first woman to hold office of Attorney General of the United States

1993: Supreme Court rules that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal

This timeline was developed from a chronology compiled by Mary Ruthsdotter, at the National Women's History Project, and a timeline from the March 1993 issue of Scholastic Search.

For more information about this organization, please contact the National Women's History Project, 7738 Bell Road, Windsor, CA 95492. (707) 838-6000.