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United States Herstory



 We all come from one black woman in Africa and everyone starts life in the mother's womb as a female - 


1619 Ninety young single women came from England to become wives "Tobacco Brides"

1619  First black Africans came to Virginia as indentured servants; 

1641 Massachusetts and 1661 Virginia passed slave laws converting indentured servants to slaves. Any small freedoms that might have existed for blacks were taken away;

(The legal framework that was used for slaves was the same framework that was used for women.  Coverture for women held that they had no legal identity. Everything was under their  fathers and then their husbands.) 


(Important to keep in mind that 1 in 8 women died in childbirth in America prior to introduction of antibiotics in 1940)


1763 - 1787 American Revolution; 


1776 - In middle of the American Revolution Abagail Adams wrote her famous letter to John Adams saying as you write the founding documents for this new country “Remember the Ladies” because unlimited power in the hands of husbands makes them tyrants and if you don’t remember us “Ladies” we will foment rebellion;


April 14, 1776 John Adams responded and said “Depend on it, We know better than to repeal our masculine systems.”


July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted applying only to white men;


December 15, 1791 Bill of Rights first 10 amendments to the Declaration of Independence (applying only to white men);


1848 Anti-slavery women including Abby Kelley, Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony met in Seneca Falls, New York and laid the foundation for the Women’s Rights Movement;


1848 “Declaration of Sentiments” based on the Declaration of Independence and upholding the equality of women was presented at the Seneca Falls Convention;  

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ... The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man towards woman."  


1859 Creation of vulcanized rubber allows dependable condoms to be mass produced;


1861-1865 Civil War fought to free all slaves including women; 


1868 Civil War Amendments to the Constitution 13th ending slavery, 14th equal protection of the law and 15th the right to vote were suppose to be for women and men.

(Split among women’s rights activists and final outcome was that amendments were ratified only for men leaving women without freedom, equal protection of law or vote.) 


1870 Abortion criminalized for the first time in the United States; 


1873 Congress passes Comstock Laws criminalizing the distribution of information on contraception in US mail; 


1875 ish States pass state laws criminalizing possessing or selling obscene materials including information on contraception; 


1893 Matilda Joslyn Gage publishes 20 years of research in "Woman, Church and State" outlining the variety of ways in which Christianity oppressed women and reinforced patriarchal systems;


1895-1898 Elizabeth Cady Stanton & committee of 26 women challenged the religious orthodoxy that women should be subordinate to man in the "Women's Bible" ;


1907 The Colony Club opens in New York City bringing women together and they advocate for the vote and equality;


1908 Alva Belmont, as a widow, begins to become a leader for the suffragist movement in New York and Newport Rhode Island;  She underwrites legal scholar Alice Paul. 


1917 Women began picketing the White House “Alice Paul went on hunger strike


1920  Women got the 19th Amendment ratified effectively giving white women the vote; 

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." 


1923 Alice Paul introduces the Equal Rights Amendment solidifying rights that women were slated to get after the Civil War; 


Section 1:  “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”   

 ERA introduced in every session of Congress until it passed in 1972;


1939 1 in 8 women are still dying in childbirth;  (Today 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast invasive breast cancer) 


1940 introduction of antibiotics begins to reduce maternal mortality; 

1964 Civil Rights Act which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, 

 (Alice Paul was instrumental in getting the word sex included in Title VII so discrimination against women by employers with more than 15 employees became illegal. However without the ERA in place there remains great latitude for discrimination.)


1965   6.5 million women are taking the birth control pill;  (average number of children for a women if she doesn't have access to reliable birth control is seven) 


1972 Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) passes in House & Senate and is sent to States to ratify; 


1972 Title IX becomes law making sex discrimination illegal on school campuses accepting Federal funds;  (Penalty for non compliance is the removal of Federal Funding. Since 1972 no school has had the funding cut for sex discrimination.) 

1972 Pornographers begin ramp up of pornography (hate speech against women)  as courts refuse to limit First Amendment Rights;

1973 Supreme Court decides "Roe v Wade" recognizing a women's right to privacy and her right to end a pregnancy without Government interference; 

 1977 Hyde Amendment defunds US Government paying for abortion except clear risk of mother's death. Carving out Medicaid, Medicare, Military, Peace Corps Volunteers, US servicewomen and veterans, women in prison or immigration detention facilities, Federal Employees, DC residents  (Covering 1 in 5 US women of reproductive age);  

1979 UN adopts a treaty Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. (CEDAW) 

(The United States and Palau have signed, but not ratified the treaty. The Holy See (Vatican), Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga are not signatories to CEDAW)


1982 Deadline for State ratification of Equal Rights Amendment expires. 

Just needed 3 additional States of 15 to ratify for ERA to be added to Constitution;

Unratified States - Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia 


2010 Supreme Court case "Citizens United" cements legal corporate citizenship; 


2011 Justice Scalia clearly states that it is legal to discriminate against women because the ERA remains unratified and says the US needs to ratify ERA for Constitutional equality;


2011 Activists continue working on grassroots to get ERA ratified leads political fight; 


2012 Emerge America begins training Democratic women to run for office in Nevada the only State with legalized prostitution;


2014 Supreme Court case "Hobby Lobby" grants corporations the right to deny employees birth control under health plans; 


2015 Jessica Neuwirth, Esq. of ERA Coalition coordinates with director Kamala Lopez and has a book “Equal Means Equal” published.  It is a clarion call for the ERA; 


 2015 President Obama issues a new law guaranteeing free coverage of birth control;


2016 Director Kamala Lopez releases the documentary “Equal Means Equal” exposing what the US looks like for women without the ERA;


2016 President Barack Obama designated Sewall-Belmont House in Washington DC as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, named for Alice Paul and Alva Belmont; 


2017 Nevada becomes 36th State to ratify the ERA.  (Now need 2 more States to ratify) 


2017 Bills introduced in Senate (Cardin) & House (Speier) to drop the arbitraryratification deadline  (S.J. Res 5 & H.J. Res 53)


2017 New launch of website for activists and funding-


2017 President Trump rolls back the birth control mandate allowing any employer to choose not to include birth control in it's health plan. 


Rethinking Eve












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