Women's Struggle For Equality

Introduction

Today, women face a number of obstacles to equality. They are substantially underrepresented in government offices. On average, they make about three-quarters less than what men earn for doing the same jobs. They are still discriminated against in employment and rarely hold top-level management positions. Women are also much more likely to be subjected to sexual harassment than men.

However, women's status today represents a significant improvement over their status in society in the 1800s. In the 1800s, women were rarely viewed as being equal to men. In most states, women could not own property, vote, hold public office, serve on juries, or testify in court proceedings. They were restricted in their employment opportunities and held no major positions of power in American society. Even gaining the right to vote did not give women equality in other areas of society. Increasing equality in areas such as employment would have to wait until the last decades of the Twentieth Century.

As you proceed through this timeline, keep the following questions in mind: What factors have helped to improve women’s positions in society? What laws and court cases have specifically benefited women? What must happen in order for women to achieve full equality with men?