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May 2017 History

Famous Firsts

American history is rich with women pioneers. Women who fought for their rights, worked hard for equal rights and made great strides in science, politics, sports, literature and art. Here are a few of the notable accomplishments made by women.

1916 ~ Margaret Sanger opens the first birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

1921 ~ Edith Wharton is the first woman to wine a Pulitzer Prize for her 1920 novel,

The Age of Innocence. Like many of her books, The Age of Innocence was a

Critique of the insularity and hypocrisy of the upper class in turn-of-the century

New York.

1923~ Activist Alice Paul proposed the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time to

                  get Congress to approve the amendment.

1928~Amelia Earhart is the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.

1933~ Frances Perkins becomes the first female member of a Presidential cabinet. A sociologist

                  and Progressive reformer in New York, she served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary

                  of Labor and kept her position until 1945.

1943~ The all-American Girls Professional Baseball League becomes the first professional

                  baseball league for female players.

1972~ The Equal Rights Amendment is finally approved by Congress, thanks to women’s rights

                  advocates like Alice Paltried.


Did You Know?

The 15 states that never ratified the Equal Rights Amendment include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Lousiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.


 Random Facts

The word “woman” is believed to have derived from the Middle English term wyfman, which breaks down as the wife (wyf) of man. In Old English, women were described as wyf, while the term man was used to describe a human being, regardless of gender.

The English word “girl” was initially used to describe a young person of either sex. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 16th century the term was used specifically to describe a female child.

The biological sign for the female sex, a circle placed on top of a small cross, is also the symbol for the planet Venus. The symbol is believed to be a stylized representation of the Roman Goddess Venus’ hand mirror.

The average height of a woman in the U.S. is approximately 5 feet 4 inches, and the average weight is about 163 pounds.

In almost every country worldwide, the life expectancy for women is higher than for men.

Women in the U.S. labor force currently earn slightly more than 77 cents for every one dollar men earn.

Women currently hold 17 percent of Congressional and Senate seats and 18 percent of gubernational positions in the U.S.







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