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A Look Back to Move Us Forward

In our most recent blog posts, it is evident that progress for women in the workplace still has a far way to go, and it’s easy to become frustrated and discouraged by the inequality that exists. However, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I felt it was important to appreciate how far we’ve come and be grateful to the strong women who have helped empower women throughout history.

Milestones in Women’s History:

1789: U.S. Constitution is ratified and the terms “persons, people, and electors” allow for interpretation of both men and women.

1837: Oberlin College in Ohio (woo -- home state) becomes first coeducational college in the United States.

1840: Catherine Brewer becomes the first woman to receive a Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Female College (now Wesleyan College) in Macon, GA.

1843: Isabella Baumfree takes on the name of Sojourner Truth and becomes a famed abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

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1848: The first Women’s Rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York.

1872: Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman Presidential candidate for the Equal Rights Party.

1916: Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes first woman elected to Congress.

1920: The 19th Amendment gives women the right to vote.

1933: Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, becomes first woman Cabinet member.

1938: The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes minimum wage without regards to gender.

1963: Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress to help close gender pay gap.

1972: Title IX bans gender discrimination in federally funded education programs.


1972: Katharine Graham of The Washington Post Co. becomes first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman Supreme Court Justice.

1987: Congress declares March as National Women’s History Month.

1994: Gender Equity in Education Act establishes programs that train teachers to treat boys and girls equally. 

2009: President Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, intended to further reduce the pay gap between men and women.

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2016: Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman presidential nominee for a major political party.

2017: The Women’s March on Washington brings nearly 500,000 activists to D.C. to march for women’s rights. 

2017: The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 comes into force, which requires all private and voluntary-sector employers with 250+ employees to publish prescribed information about their gender pay gap results.

While we are still not where we want, and ought to be, it’s encouraging to reflect on the major strides we’ve made.

These major milestones throughout history are important to note, because with each one, more awareness has been brought to the issue of gender inequality. Though progress is stalling, we have power in numbers, knowledge, and research that allows us to work towards actionable change. 

And here at Gild, it is both our passion and mission to do just that.

Through inspired projects and female-focused workshops that we bring to both workplaces and campuses, we work to see these numbers grow. 

So, with all of that said, let’s practice gratitude this Thanksgiving. Let’s remember the strong women who have and thank the women who continue to work towards a brighter, more empowered future.