The Evolution of Women’s Rights

Grace Swanson, Reporter

Three women of different ages were interviewed by the El Diablo regarding their thoughts on the history of women’s rights. All three women, Marilyn Swanson, Laura Hawk, and Jenny Marx live in Durango.

August 26, 1920:  The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote is passed by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

“Women’s emancipation to be equal enough to cast a vote was a big deal, before that we were basically thought of as slaves.”-Laura Hawk

1923: A women under the name of Alice Paul proposes the idea to the Congress of an Equal Rights Amendment for all sexs. It is then brought up every year after.

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”- Alice Paul

1941-1945: Women start to come into the workforce during World War II.

“Women had to go into the factories, because the men were fighting. After than more women started working. Anybody when they get a taste of freedom they don’t go backwards again.”- Laura Hawk and Marilyn Swanson

1942: The military establishes Women’s services.

1960: The first birth-control pill is created.

“Birth control was the major change for women, pregnancy was awful if you did have sex before marriage. My mother on the board at florence cripman home, a home for unwed mothers.”- Laura Hawk

1963: The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress.

“While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.”- John F. Kennedy

1964: The Civil Rights Act outlaws sex discrimination.

1966: The National Organization for Women (NOW) is organized.

“A woman is handicapped by her sex, and handicaps society, either by slavishly copying the pattern of man’s advance in the professions, or by refusing to compete with man at all.” Founder; Betty Friedan

1972: Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in schools and sports.

“I got to high school and the best thing to do was girls tennis. We had no couching. The only state that I was aware of that had organized sports for girls was Ioha, with girls basketball. It made it possible for the schools to supply money for girls to play sports. It’s still not fair but it is better.”- Marilyn Swanson

1982: The Equal Rights Amendment failed ratification by the states. That was first introduced in 1972.1992: A record-breaking number of women is elected to Congress.

“By the 80s we were wearing suits to work with huge shoulder pads. Part of it was because your waist look tiny but also it was a power play.”- Marilyn Swanson

1993: Sexual harassment in the workplace is ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.

In general the population was aware of how much sexual assault happened…No one talked about it, because it was like rape, you were too embarrassed.” Laura Hawk and Marilyn Swanson

2013 Women can be in combat positions in the military.

2013 The Violence Against Women Act extended to cover women of Native American tribal lands who are attacked by non-tribal residents, as well as lesbians and immigrants.

“As women we are unbelievably lucky to be in America. To have freedom. There are so many other cultures and countries that women have no rights, and unable to protect themselves.”- Jeny Marks

2017 The Women’s March is held around the world.

“Anytime women come together like that it is extremely powerful that will build momentum.”- Jeny Marks

2017-2018 Sexual assault awareness comes into light through women.

“Since Trump is president, he has been so publicly offensive towards women verbally and physically, that it has spurred women to really not put up with it anymore. Women have become more open. Before it was the embarrassment. Now it’s too not speak up and stand up for your fellow women is the negative consequence.”- Jeny Marks