Women’s contributions to society, science, politics, the economy, and sports are not hidden from the world. The milestones in women’s history are no doubt milestones of human history and have certainly contributed to the growth and success of our societies.
Although most of the struggles and achievements are still not recorded in most parts of the world, we are still here with some of the most highlighted and inspirational milestones in women’s history that have certainly had their impacts on our society and help counter this perception that women are meant to be the weaker part of our society.
This is just a glimpse of women’s contribution to our world.
10 Milestones In Women’s History
- 1895: Women were Given the Right To Vote In South Australia For The First Time In The World
- 1963: The US Passes An Act For Equal Pay
- 1980: New Marriage Law Passes In China Giving Right To Women
- 1983: First Women To Ever Be On A Space Shuttle (Sally Ride)
- 1988: First Ever Women Elected As A Prime Minister In A Muslim State
- 1889: First Ever American Women To Become A CEO
- 1920: The US Gives Women The Right To Vote
- 2017: Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban On Women Driving
- 2017: India Roles Sex With Minors As Illegal
- 2020: First Ever Women Vice President Of The US
1. 1893: Women Earned the Right To Vote In South Australia (For the First Time In The World!)
You might consider voting as one of the basic rights of every citizen, but this was not always the case. In 1983, New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote, followed by Australia in 1895. After this legislation was accepted, many other countries followed suit, and women finally had the ability to participate in the central politics of the nation.
The legislation in itself took years of hard work; meetings in every town and city, signing petitions, and many women joining in the movement. Finally, in November of 1893, the first-ever women’s vote was recorded!
2. 1963: The US Passes An Act For Equal Pay
The gender pay gap was among one of the most common rights women had been seeking out for several years. It finally paid off in 1963 when the US passed its Equal Pay Act, which is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938.
The act requires employers to pay equal amounts of pay to men and women working in the same job position. If an employer fails to do so, the employee can file a lawsuit against him, demanding compensation in the form of a pay adjustment, benefits, and paybacks. This act was considered a milestone in the gender pay gap issue faced by most countries globally. Over the years, such acts and laws have been approved by different governments across multiple nations.
3. 1980: New Marriage Law Passes In China
The New Marriage Law is considered to be a milestone for women living in China. Before this new law came into action, women did not have the right to choose their life partners or file for a divorce. Most of the women are married in exchange as a proxy, forcefully married, or sold to landlords. The legal age of marriage was also well below the minor age.
The New Marriage Law gives women the right to divorce, whilst increasing the minimum marriage age to 20 for men and 18 for women. The law also ended the one-child policy in China and gave women the right to ask for property in a divorce. The law was a continuation of the Marriage Law that was passed in 1950.
4. 1983: First Woman On A Space Shuttle
The 19th century was a period of scientific wonders and space exploration. When man first landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, it inspired many young individuals to dream of being in space. Among those dreamers was a girl named Sally Ride, who went on to become the first woman to be on a space shuttle in 1983!
Sally Ride spent seven days on a space shuttle named Challenger during its STS-7 mission. She was among the top astronauts to be selected to be on that mission. Since Sally Ride, we have seen hundreds of women become successful astronauts.
5. 1988: First Woman Elected as Prime Minister (in a Muslim State)
Prime minister Benazir Bhutto was the first ever woman prime minister of Pakistan. After the death sentence of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir became the face of her father’s movement against the military dictatorship in Pakistan. She was later elected as the Prime Minister in 1988. She was the motivation for women in Pakistan and other Muslim states to come forward and take part in politics.
6. 1889: First American Woman CEO
Anna Bissel was the first ever American woman to become a CEO. After the death of her husband in 1989, she became the CEO of his carpet sweeping company. It even eventually became a big brand under her management!
Afterward, we have seen some of the most brilliant women CEOs that have made fortunes for their companies and become top brands in the market.
7. 1920: The US Gives Women The Right To Vote
It was only about a 100 years ago when women were given the right to vote in the United States Of America; 27 years after Newzleand! In 1919, the US passed the 19th amendment in the constitution, giving women the lawful right to vote. This came into action in August of 1920 when American women cast their votes for the first time!
This was a huge milestone for women living in America AND globally! The UK followed suit by allowing their women the right to vote nearly eight years later. Many women have since been elected to congress or as speakers of the house, governors, ministers, and secretaries.
8. 2017: Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban On Women Driving
You might think, “How can someone stop a person from driving just based on their gender?”. This was the case in Saudi Arabia before 2017, only five years ago! Women were banned from driving their vehicles just because they were women. Under the liberalization movement in Saudi Arabia, the ban was lifted in 2017, allowing women the right to drive.
There are still some strict restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, as well as in other gulf states. Over the years, we have seen many talented women coming from gulf states contributing to companies, state institutions, science, and sports.
9. 2017: India Roles Sex With Minors As Illegal
In India, you might hear of many traditions that allow men to marry and have sex with minor girls (under the age of 18). At one point, having relations with girls as low as 9 or 10 was considered legal if she was married to the man. Under the Supreme Court order of 2017, fornication and forced marriage of a minor is illegal and considered rape.
According to studies and surveys, around 12 million children in India under the age of 10 are married. This ruling stops this tradition and saves thousands of girls from being in an underaged, forced marriage.
10. 2020: First Ever Women Vice President Of The US
In the general election held in the United States Of America, the people of the US elected their first-ever India-originated women vice president Kamala Harrison. President Joe Biden named her as her vice president, making him the first president to have a female VP. Kamala is certainly a motivation for women in the US to take part in politics as they can be the president one day.
Kamala Harrison’s family was Indian, and they migrated to the US for a better living. For her keen interest in politics, she joined the democratic party and contested for her role, and then became the 46th vice president of the US.
The Sky’s The Limit
The road to gender equality remains long and ever-shifting—particularly when it comes to the nuanced ways gender intersects with race, class, and sexuality. But today’s influential female voices give us hope that we’re headed in the right direction.
For all of us as women, the sky’s the limit! There is no power that can stand between you and your passion. Be who and what you are, stand up for yourself, and fight for your rights. One day you will get what you deserve.
Women are always saying, ‘We can do anything that men can do.’ But men should be saying, ‘We can do anything that women can do.’ — Gloria Steinem