14 Rights Women Have Gained Since Earning The Right To Vote

This is why #OurVoteCounts.
Vote baby vote!
Vote baby vote!
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With the 2016 presidential election right around the corner, it’s important to look back and remember how much it matters that women are engaged in the political process.

On August 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified, which granted white women the right to vote. In some states, black women weren’t able to vote until the 1960s, due to voter registration restrictions put in place to deny voting rights to people of color.

Since then, women have fought for our rights to obtain a safe and legal abortion, fight on the front lines and marry the people we love. Much of this progress was achieved by using our power to vote.

Women were instrumental in determining the outcome of the 2012 election ― and we’ll most likely do it again this November. There is a lot at stake for women this year and, thankfully, women have a say in who sits in our oval office for the next four years. We are 51 percent of the population so let’s vote like it.

Below are 14 rights women have gained since earning the right to vote to celebrate the power of women’s voices, and remember that our vote counts this election year ― and every year after.

1922: Gained The Right To Marry A Foreigner And Keep Their Citizenship
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In 1907 women who married foreign men would be stripped of their citizenship due to the Expatriation Act. No such penalty was given to men who married foreign women. Two years after women won the right to vote, in 1922, the Expatriation Act was repealed.
1960: Women Were Finally Able To Purchase The Birth Control Pill
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The FDA didn’t approve the pill until 1960, allowing women in the U.S. to take advantage of increasing reproductive freedom.
1968: Gained The Right To Have Equal Access To Job Listings
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In 1968, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the standard practice of separating job listings and help wanted ads by sex was unlawful.
1970: Gained The Right To Be Paid The Same As Men For The Same Work
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In 1970, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. that an employer owed women the same compensation as men for jobs that are “substantially equal” even if they are not “identical.” This prevented employers from giving women different titles than men in order to pay them less.
1973: Women Could Legally Get Abortions
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In 1973, the iconic Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade allowed women to legally and safely get abortions.
1974: Gained The Right To Get A Credit Card In Their Own Names
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In 1974, women finally gained the right to get a credit card in their own names with the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974. The law made credit card companies issue cards to women without a husband’s signature, which gave more women power over their personal finances.
1978: Women Gained The Right To Work Without Discrimination Due To Pregnancy
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The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal for employers to pass on otherwise qualified female applicants because of the assumption that they might become pregnant. Before this law, women were routinely let go after getting pregnant to spare employers health care and maternity leave costs. Under this law, it became illegal for a woman to be denied a job or promotion or be fired because she is (or may become) pregnant.
1985: Women Could Divorce Their Husbands Because Of "Irreconcilable Differences"
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Although California became the first state to allow for no-fault divorce in 1969, it wasn’t until 1985 that all states (except New York) allowed women to file for divorce without the requirement that the husband had committed any wrongdoing. Before “irreconcilable differences” was sufficient grounds for a split, women had to claim, and sometimes prove, that their spouse had mistreated, abandoned, abused or been unfaithful to them in order for the state to approve the separation.
1986: Women Could Finally Seek Damages For Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
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In 1986, the Supreme Court decision in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson determined that making repeated sexual references or advances in the workplace created a hostile work environment that amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment became a part of the national conversation in 1991 when Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of workplace harassment.
1993: Marital Rape Became A Criminal Offense In All 50 States
Although Nebraska became the first state to make criminalize marital rape, it wasn’t until 1993 that all states eliminated the “spousal exemption” for rape. Unbelievably, marital rape is still not punished to the same degree as extra-marital rape in 26 states.
1998: Women Could Access The Morning After Pill
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2009: Women Could File A Complaint About Pay Discrimination
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Signed by President Obama in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act allows employees to file a complaint of pay discrimination within six months of receiving their last paycheck. The act confirmed that discrimination occurs every time a woman is paid less for equal work. Before 2009, the initial decision to pay a woman less was seen as the first and only discriminatory act -- one with a statute of limitations of six months.
2013: Women Were Allowed To Fight On The Front Lines
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In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta lifted the military ban on women in combat.
2015: Women Could Finally Marry Other Women
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Although Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, it wasn’t until 2015 that same-sex marriage was legalized across the country.

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Before You Go

Historic Images Of Women Voting


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