Women can now be found in prominent and important positions everywhere in contemporary society, and that’s a good thing. You can see them succeeding in a wide variety of institutions such as politics, sports, business, arts, entertainment, science, technology, the fashion industry (which they dominate), and many other fields once considered a man’s territory. Of course, things weren’t always this way, and let’s not forget that women still can’t vote and are not considered equal to men in quite a few developing countries worldwide. For centuries, women weren’t allowed to do or participate in things we take for granted today such as competing at the Olympics or performing in a play, so while we’ve come a long way, there’s still a long way to go for the feminist movement.
Nothing has easily and freely been given to women; they have had to struggle and in many cases wage bloody battles for the rights and positions they now hold in modern society. Many women became martyrs and lost their lives during the process so that millions of women today could enjoy various freedoms and opportunities. Today we proudly present 25 Intriguing Facts About The History Of The Feminist Movement in honor of all the amazing women, both well-known and unsung, who paved the way for women’s rights and equality.
Feature Image: Shutterstock25 Intriguing Facts About The History Of The Feminist Movement
The word “feminism” first appeared in the English language in the 1890's, even though the struggle of women against discrimination and sexism was much older.
The feminist movement is often divided into two major waves. The first wave began with the suffragette movement and the struggle to extend the right to vote to women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The second wave spanned the mid-1960's through the late 1970's with debates about abortion and equal pay.
The first country to grant women the right to vote in the modern age was New Zealand in 1893.
You might think that Hillary Clinton is the first woman to run for US president, but that honor belongs to Victoria Woodhull, who ran for the office in 1872 under the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. While women were not able to vote, there were no laws prohibiting them from running for office.
The first woman in the modern era to rule a country as an elected leader was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, who was elected prime minister in 1960 and then later reelected in 1970.
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Wyoming was the first state to grant voting rights to women. It was also the first to elect a female governor.
Long before woman's suffrage in 1777, sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington became a heroine of the American Revolutionary War when she rode her horse, Star, to warn the colonial forces that the British were approaching.
In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, but they are currently challenging this law.
The first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton in 1921 for her novel, The Age of Innocence.
Fifty-two countries have had a female head of state over the past fifty years, including England, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Liberia. However, the United States is among those that never have, though Hillary Clinton might change that in a few months.
The first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon was Roberta Gibb in 1966. However, because women were not allowed to officially enter the race until 1972, she did not get credit.
Interested to hear about more powerful women in history? Check out 25 Women Who Defied Gender Roles And Made History.