TIME feminism

This Graphic Shows Why We Still Need Women’s Equality Day

There's still plenty of room for progress 95 years after women got the right to vote

Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 95th anniversary of when American women finally won the right to vote in 1920.

That victory came after decades of activism by suffrage activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1919, and was ratified by the states in 1920—but not without some drama. By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the 19th amendment, one state shy of the two-thirds needed to pass. Many of the southern states were opposed to women’s suffrage, and the vote came down to Tennessee. Tennessee’s state legislature was divided 48-48 on whether women should be allowed the vote, but that tie was broken by 24-year old lawmaker Harry Burn. He had apparently received a letter from his mother urging him to “be a good boy” and vote for women’s rights.

Ninety-five years later, women are voting more than men but hold political office in much smaller numbers. While women have outstripped men in voting booths since 1980, women still make up just about 20-25% of elected officials at the state and federal level. Check out this graphic to see a more detailed breakdown of how women are represented in politics 95 years after they got the right to vote. Much of the data has been collected by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.


Read next: The Day Women Went on Strike

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TIME feminism

The Day Women Went on Strike

Women's Strike For Peace-And Equality
Eugene Gordon—The New York Historical Society / Getty Images Women's Strike for Peace and Equality, New York City, Aug. 26, 1970.

The Women's Strike for Equality March took place on Aug. 26, 1970

On Aug. 26, 1970, a full 50 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, 50,000 feminists paraded down New York City’s Fifth Avenue with linked arms, blocking the major thoroughfare during rush hour. Now, 45 years later, the legacy of that day continues to evolve.

Officially sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Women’s Strike for Equality March was the brainchild of Betty Friedan, who wanted an “action” that would show the American media the scope and power of second-wave feminism.

As TIME observed just days before the march, the new feminist movement emerged out of a moment in which “virtually all of the nation’s systems — industry, unions, the professions, the military, the universities, even the organizations of the New Left — [were] quintessentially masculine establishments.” The notion of women’s liberation was extremely controversial, and the movement was in its infancy.

Friedan’s original idea for Aug. 26 was a national work stoppage, in which women would cease cooking and cleaning in order to draw attention to the unequal distribution of domestic labor, an issue she discussed in her 1963 bestseller The Feminine Mystique. It isn’t clear how many women truly went on “strike” that day, but the march served as a powerful symbolic gesture. Participants held signs with slogans like “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot” and “Don’t Cook Dinner – Starve a Rat Today.”

The number of marchers exceeded Friedan’s “wildest dreams.” TIME described the event as “easily the largest women’s rights rally since the suffrage protests.” It brought together older, liberal feminists like Friedan and Bella Abzug with a younger, more radical contingent of women. As Joyce Antler, a historian who participated in the demonstration, told me, many of these women “were veterans of civil rights marches and anti-war protests of the 1960s. We marched throughout the ‘60s and we had faith that this mattered.”

The day of activism reached beyond New York City, as thousands of feminists across the country coordinated sister demonstrations. A full range of creative, confrontational tactics was on display, as activists infiltrated “all male” bars and restaurants, held teach-ins and sit-ins, picketed and rallied, in Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston, Berkeley and New Orleans. One thousand women marched on the nation’s capital, holding a banner that read “We Demand Equality.” In Los Angeles, feminists wearing Richard Nixon masks enacted guerrilla street theater. “The solidarity was completely exhilarating,” Antler recalls.

The organizers of the day’s events agreed on a set of three specific goals, which reflected the overall spirit of second-wave feminism: free abortion on demand, equal opportunity in employment and education, and the establishment of 24/7 childcare centers. Over the next several years, activists would use multiple techniques — from public protest to legislative lobbying — in an attempt to turn these goals into realities.

So how did they fare?

The women’s movement was most successful in pushing for gender equality in workplaces and universities. The passage of Title IX in 1972 forbade sex discrimination in any educational program that received federal financial assistance. The amendment had a dramatic affect on leveling the playing field in girl’s athletics. Also, feminists made the workforce a more hospitable space for women with policies banning sexual harassment, something the Equal Opportunity Commission recognized in 1980. Women’s participation in college, graduate school and the professions has steadily increased over the past several decades, although a gender wage gap still exists.

In terms of abortion access, activists have also made great strides since 1970, but have suffered serious setbacks as well. In 1973, after legal strategizing by NOW and other reproductive rights groups, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in all fifty states. This was a major feminist victory, but it was also limited, as the decision only protected a woman’s right to terminate during her first trimester of pregnancy, allowing for state intervention in the second and third trimesters. Furthermore, Roe v. Wade did not address the cost of an abortion, which was high enough to be out of reach for many women. In the years after the decision, backlash to Roe triggered many varieties of legislation that further eroded women’s access to the procedure.

Perhaps the least amount of progress has been made in the area of childcare, which remains prohibitively expensive for many American women. In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, which would have set up local day care centers for children on a sliding scale based on family income, but Nixon vetoed the bill. While President Obama has spoken about making affordable childcare a national priority, there are no current plans to offer government-funded, round-the-clock care in the United States as feminists had initially envisioned. As of 2014, the average annual cost of enrolling in a daycare center for an infant is, in most states, higher than the cost of a public college in that state.

So the long-term results of the Strike for Equality March have been mixed. But in the short-term, the event did accomplish one major goal: it helped make the feminist movement visible. In the immediate aftermath, a CBS poll showed that four out of five adults were aware of women’s liberation, and NOW’s membership grew by 50%. “The huge number of marchers, young and old, made a convincing case that this was a movement for everyone,” Antler explains. In this sense, the event exemplified cross-generational solidarity among women. Today’s intersectional feminist activists hope to build coalitions across race, class, and sexuality as well, as they work to fulfill the unfinished mission of their foremothers.

The Long ViewHistorians explain how the past informs the present

Sascha Cohen is a PhD candidate in the history department at Brandeis University, specializing in the social and cultural history of 1970s America.

TIME feminism

Why Women’s Equality Still Isn’t Protected by the Constitution

Whatever happened to the Equal Rights Amendment?

Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day, but the Constitution still does not have an amendment that explicitly guarantees women equal rights.

Whatever happened to the Equal Rights Amendment that Congress passed in 1972? Watch the video above to learn how the Amendment came to be—and ultimately failed.

TIME politics

See the Original Document That Got American Women the Right to Vote

The 19th Amendment was ratified 95 years ago, on Aug. 18, 1920

U.S. National Archives

The struggle for women’s right to vote in the United States was a long one: It began pretty much as soon as the country came into existence, continued as suffrage was expanded within the male population, neared completion as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in June of 1919 and was finally victorious 95 years ago today, on Aug. 18, 1920.

It was then that Tennessee ratified the Amendment—thus putting it over the three-quarters mark it needed to become a Constitutional Amendment. It was certified by the Secretary of State within days. This document, which is held in the U.S. National Archives (and which you can zoom in on by rolling over it with your mouse, or tapping on mobile), is the Congressional resolution that originally proposed “an amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women.”


Lena Dunham Previews Her Lenny Newsletter with Chat About Sandra Bland

2015 Film Society Of Lincoln Center Summer Talks With Judd Apatow And Lena Dunham
Mike Pont—WireImage Lena Dunham attends the 2015 Film Society of Lincoln Center Summer Talks with Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham at Walter Reade Theater in New York City on July 13, 2015.

Subscribers get a taste of the Girls' creator's newsletter

Lena Dunham and Girls showrunner Jenni Konner have been touting their newsletter Lenny on social media for some time. But while they’ve garnered a lot of interest in the project — which will cover topics such as “feminism, style, health, politics, friendship and everything else,” beginning in autumn 2015 — it’s been unclear what the newsletter would actually include.

Until now.

On Monday, Lenny subscribers received a “special preview” of the newsletter entitled “Sandra Bland’s Legacy.” The message features illustrations by Nathalie Ramirez and a Q&A between Dunham and Chenai Okammor, a colleague and friend of Sandra Bland, who was arrested and later died while in police custody in July. Before her death, Bland had worked with Okammor to build a website, called Woman4Woman, that was meant to connect and empower women. (The website was launched Monday.)

Throughout the conversation between Dunham and Okammor, the two women discuss Bland, the circumstances of her arrest and death, and the concept of women connecting and learning from one another. Okammor also shares memories about Bland and explains why their website was so important to her:

Sandy said to me, “I’m 28 and I’m just now beginning to identify what I stand for. I do know that when something is wrong, it bothers me so much that I take it to heart.” When she started working on this project I asked her what she wanted to accomplish with it. She said, “I want to be able to share my story with young women out there.” Because she still thought she was alone in her quirkiness.

She also discusses Bland’s death, comparing the treatment the young woman faced at the hands of police in Texas with Okammor’s own past in Zimbabwe. “And you know it’s always the women who hold up the country in times of war,” Okammor says. “It’s the women who hold up anything or everything. That’s why we’re doing this.”

TIME celebrities

Stephen Colbert On Why He Thinks Women Should Run the World

speaks onstage during the 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' panel discussion at the CBS portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 10, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images Stephen Colbert speaks onstage during the 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' panel discussion in Los Angeles on Aug. 10, 2015.

Stephen Colbert is a feminist, and proudly proclaims it in a new op-ed.

Writing for Glamour magazine, Colbert talks about why he thinks women should run everything: “Sometimes I wonder whether the world would be a better place if women were in charge,” he writes. “It would be pretty easy to make that happen. Simply tell the men of the world that you’re trying to start a campfire. While we’re all arguing with one another about proper kindling placement and whether using lighter fluid is cheating, women can just quietly start getting stuff done.”

He goes on to talk about how he’s deeply in touch with his femininity, he falls on the gender spectrum between Channing Tatum and Winnie the Pooh, and he once played a woman in a high school play.

But, he cautions: “It’s not my place to mansplain to you about the manstitutionalized manvantages built into Americman manciety. That would make me look like a real manhole.”

Read more at Glamour.com

TIME portfolio

Closets Full of Dreams: Inside Egypt’s Sexual-Harassment Crisis

“It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general.”

To be a woman in Egypt is to live with the crushing inevitability of sexual harassment. The magnitude of the problem is epidemic, with 99.3% of Egyptian women having been sexually harassed, according to a 2013 U.N. Women report. It’s a society in which, for half the population, just leaving home can be a daily nightmare.

Cairo-based photojournalist Roger Anis decided to confront the issue by making portraits of women next to the clothes they would wear on the streets, if only they felt safe enough. “I’m not facing harassment myself as a man,” he says, “but when your dear friends are facing it, your girlfriend is facing it, or your mother or sister is facing it, you feel so helpless.”

His diptychs pair horrifying stories of harassment and assault with the dream of basic rights for women, reaching beyond sexism to address intersectional themes of racism, ageism, body image, religious tradition, and even the repression of political dissent. Although these issues aren’t exclusive to women, says Anis, women are more likely to be targeted for other forms of discrimination because of their gender.

One of his subjects said she was spat on for wearing colors under her niqab. Another said she was brutally assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square in 2012. Still others were made to feel unsafe or ashamed in the clothes that they chose or the skin color, age, or weight that they didn’t. “It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general,” says Anis.

Though the causes of sexual harassment are rooted in systemic gender inequity, and not a woman’s behavior or clothing choices, women often feel desperate to protect themselves from the aggressions of men. It’s a matter of doing whatever they can to feel safer, Anis says, though in practice it doesn’t really help. “For me, clothes have nothing to do with harassment,” says Aleya Adel, who appears in one of Anis’ photos. “You will be harassed no matter what you are wearing.”

What drives men to commit the harassment, says Anis, is a combination of factors including political turmoil, poverty, a low standard of education, and religious restrictions. “There will always be people who consider the harasser as a victim of society,” he says. “Egypt is so conservative. It’s not easy for a man and woman to be friends.” But that, he adds, does not absolve men of the responsibility to control themselves and respect women.

Eman Helal, another of Anis’ subjects and a photojournalist in her own right, has done powerful work on sexual harassment in the past. “My work focuses more on the dangers of sexual harassment and how it can end women’s lives,” she says. “Roger’s project shows the oppression Egyptian women face, and how men can interfere with every single detail of women’s personal lives, down to their clothes.”

A documentary by Tinne van Loon and Colette Ghunim called The People’s Girls is also currently in production. But in-depth projects made by women on sexual harassment in Egypt remain scarce. For many female journalists and photographers, the topic simply hits too close to home.

“Some of my male colleagues blame me for caring so much about this subject, as if it’s not normal to pay attention to it,” says Helal. “They assume my interest comes from being a woman who has been harassed. Yes, of course it’s one reason. It’s our right to walk without fear. But they actually don’t think that what happens to us is sexual harassment at all.”

Anis’ work is not only a man’s recognition of the threats women endure, the higher standards to which they are held, and the simple freedoms they are denied, but also a starting point for men in Egypt—and beyond—to see women through a lens of empathy and respect. Karoline Kamel, Anis’ girlfriend, believes the work is especially powerful because it comes from a male perspective and can set an example.

“In a lot of cases, the burden is on women to defend their own rights, and they are accused of being extreme,” she says. “It is more objective to discuss and present the subject from a man who supports women’s rights.”

Kamel, who appears in the project herself, was crucial in helping Anis find other women willing to open up to a male photographer. Many refused to participate, afraid of having their identities publicized. “We are in a society where it’s not appropriate to talk about out dreams and needs in public,” says Kamel. Those who came forward, she adds, were desperate for society to take notice of their suffering, or hoped the project would embolden other women to speak out.

For Anis, Kamel, and Helal, the fight for women’s rights in Egypt continues to be long and hard. But their closets full of dreams have been opened. “I hope that [Anis’] work can help free women from their fears so they can speak about their problems,” says Helal, “but also convince men not to look at us as just bodies, and treat us like we have minds.”

Roger Anis is a photographer based in Cairo, Egypt.

Jen Tse is a photo editor and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter @jentse and Instagram.

TIME politics

This Is How Politically Inferior Women Were After the American Revolution

Abigail Adams
MPI—Getty Images circa 1775: Abigail Smith Adams (1744 - 1818), from a painting by C Schessele

When an American woman married a foreign man, she lost her American citizenship altogether

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Hillary Rodham Clinton might become president just a few years short of the hundredth anniversary of the nineteenth amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. But it will have been more than twice that long since this nation in its founding years missed the opportunity to include women in its governance. Images of early twentieth-century suffragists marching for the vote in their long skirts and beflowered hats can give the impression that women’s political power gradually grew from the distant past through today, but American history has not been a constant march toward broader political rights. Although we might finally have a first female president in 2017, by 1776 three women had actually ruled over the British colonies of North America: Queen Elizabeth I, for whom the Virginia colony of Roanoke was named; Queen Anne, who ruled England from 1702 to 1714; and her sister Mary II, who ruled alongside her husband. Yet the founders of the United States created an independent republic that decreased women’s political participation and delayed their inclusion in the governing of this nation.

Of course European and colonial American women did not have equal political rights with men. The fact that the new country had founding fathers reflects women’s political subordination. Regarding legal rights, Britain’s system of coverture meant that married women had no legal identity of their own. As dependents of their husbands, they could not own property or businesses, serve on juries, write contracts, sue, or be sued. (The British and American custom of a wife taking her husband’s last name represented women’s loss of legal identity within marriage.)

Yet colonial women’s inequality to men was part of a complicated hierarchy. Women were dependent on their fathers or husbands, but everyone but the monarch was dependent on someone. Most men did not have voting rights. Common people’s political rights often lay in street protests, and women were part of the crowd. Widows were not subject to coverture and could own property and run businesses.

The founders of the American republic dramatically changed American political life, but they decided not to advance women’s political or legal rights. Women played a vital role in the protests and the war against the British empire. Women were in the crowds protesting the Stamp Act. Because women were in charge of most household consumption, the Revolution depended on their enthusiastic support of boycotts against British goods. Philadelphian Esther de Berdt Reed raised thousands of dollars to support the Continental Army. Countless women contributed and solicited money, sewed shirts for soldiers (each embroidered with the name of the woman who made it), prepared food, and made bullets. Both the Continental Army and the British Army enlisted women as cooks and laundresses. Other women unofficially accompanied the army to stay with their family members, protect themselves from invading armies, and take advantage of the economic opportunities a large army provided. Countless women managed farms and business when their husbands went to war. Not all critical contributions to the founding of a nation take place in a convention hall or on a battlefield.

Some women urged that the United States include women as it expanded political rights. Judith Sargent Murrayargued in the Massachusetts Magazinethat women, too, had the right to self-govern that the Enlightenment declared for men. It made no sense to assume that nature had “yielded to one half of the human species so unquestionable a mental superiority.” The new country should ensure that “independence should be placed within their grasp” as well. In her valedictory address to the Philadelphia Academy in 1793, graduate Priscilla Mason argued that men “denied us the means of knowledge, and then reproached us for the want of it. . . . They doomed the sex to servile or frivolous employments, on purpose to degrade [our] minds, that they themselves might hold unrivalled, the power and preeminence they had usurped.” She hoped that her generation of women would gain access to the professions, including government.

Instead, Congress left coverture in place and let the states decide voting regulations. All of the states eventually explicitly defined voting citizens as male and white. New Jersey’s state constitution initially granted the vote to “all inhabitants” who were adult property-owners, so some white and black propertied widows (as well as some black men) voted in the state’s early years. Female property-owners’ participation was uncontroversial enough that New Jersey’s 1790 election law explicitly referred to the voter as “he or she.” But as elections became more hotly contested in the early nineteenth century, the political parties accused each other of taking advantage of women or even dressing men as women in order to commit voter fraud. In 1807, New Jersey joined the other states with a new state constitution that restricted the vote to free, white, adult male property owners. Some districts in some states allowed women to vote in school board elections, figuring they had particular expertise and concern over children’s education. But generally, as the states dropped the requirement for property ownership to vote or hold office, they increasingly defined political participation as the purview of only white men. Coverture remained the law. When an American woman married a foreign man, she lost her American citizenship altogether.

When regions that had not been British colonies became states in the union, women there lost ground. The colonies of other empires, including France and Spain, had not had coverture, so women had legal rights and usually greater economic opportunities. In most American Indian nations, women owned the farmland, but many of them also fell under coverture as the United States expanded west.

Hillary Clinton’s career is an important milestone in the history of formal female participation in government, but women have been crucial to the founding and the development of the nation since its beginning, despite their lack of recognition.

Kathleen DuVal teaches Early American history and American Indian history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her latest book is Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (2015).

MONEY Shopping

‘Trophy’ Women’s T-shirt at Target Called Sexist and Demeaning

target employee organizing t-shirts and apparel in target store
Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Target thinks the shirt is cute and funny.

Does a T-shirt featuring the word “TROPHY” that’s sold at Target help perpetuate rape culture? Indeed it does, according to a new Change.org petition.

“The truth is that millions of women and young girls are taken as ‘trophies’ every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery, and rape,” states the petition, which was created with the goal of pressuring Target to stop selling the shirt. “The word trophy should not refer to any person, man or woman, because we are not THINGS- we are human beings. Labeling any person as a ‘Trophy’ is demeaning their humanity and objectifying them as a tangible object that can be bought, used, and disposed of.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had a few hundred online signatures. But after attracting significant attention in the media over the past day, the total was up over 12,000 signatures at last check.

As USA Today observed, people offended by the “Trophy” shirt have been hitting Target on social media for weeks. “The fact @Target has a bridal shirt that says ‘Trophy’ on it AND in the juniors section sickens me. How can that seem like a good idea?” one woman Tweeted more than a month ago.

Target responded to the controversy with a statement explaining, “It is never our intention to offend anyone.” What’s more, Target insists that many customers love the “Trophy” shirts. The joke seems to be a play “trophy wife,” a term coined way back in 1989 in a Fortune article about CEOs and their younger second wives. “These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.”

Obviously, not everyone agrees that the shirt’s message is lighthearted and cute. It’s a fun wink “kind of like how catcalls are just friendly observations,” says a writer at Jezebel.

Read next: 5 Ways That Amazon Is Still Far Superior to New Upstart Jet.com


Study Finds That Men Who Attack Women Online Are, Literally, Losers

Teenager playing video games
Getty Images

Men who perform badly in games are more likely to harass female users

A new study purports to show what we all could have guessed: Men who attack women online are actual losers.

A pair of researchers examined interactions between players during 163 games of Halo 3 to determine when men were most likely to exhibit sexist, anti-social behavior toward their female peers.

According to the study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS One, men who were worse players than their peers tended to hurl more nastiness at female gamers. On the other hand, men who knew their way around the console were nicer to male and female players.

The researchers say the findings support an “evolutionary argument” that low-status men with low dominance have more to lose and are therefore more hostile to women who threaten their status in the social hierarchy.

“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank,” researchers write.

The findings also support the growing body of anecdotal and research-based evidence that women face harsh blowback when they enter into and thrive in male-dominated corners of the Internet.

As the Washington Post points out, however, the study does not offer any solutions on how to solve the issue.

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