This Month Marks the 175th Anniversary of the
Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls
“Away with your man-visions.
Women propose to reject
them all, and begin to dream
dreams for themselves.”
– Susan B. Anthony
Welcome to WOW2, a four-times-a-month
sister blog to This Week in the War On Women
“Feminism isn’t about making women
stronger. Women are already strong,
it’s about changing the way the world
perceives that strength.”
– G. D. Anderson,
Australian feminist writer
“Live she must, and earn wages— that
is the iron law of capitalism, the whip
which keeps driving her month after
month…But those who know her are
aware that this is destroying her …”
– Lily Braun, German author,
advocate for women’s economic
independence and legal protections
for single mothers and children
The purpose of WOW2 is to learn about and honor women of achievement, including many who’ve been ignored or marginalized in most of the history books, and to mark events in women’s history.
These trailblazers have a lot to teach us about persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. I hope you will find reclaiming our past as much of an inspiration as I do.
THIS WEEK IN THE WAR ON WOMEN
will post shortly, so be sure to go there next, and
catch up on the latest dispatches from the frontlines.
Many, many thanks to libera nos, intrepid Assistant Editor of WOW2. Any remaining mistakes are either mine, or uncaught computer glitches in transferring the data from his emails to DK5. And much thanks to wow2lib, WOW2’s Librarian Emeritus.
Note: All images and audios are below the person or event to which they refer.
- July 1, 1804 – George Sand born as Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin; French novelist and playwright who scandalized French society by smoking, wearing men’s clothing, and having a series of very public affairs; her lovers included composer Frédéric Chopin and author Alfred de Musset; remembered for her novels, including La Petite Fadette (Little Fadette), Consuelo, and La Mare au Diable (The Devil’s Pool).
- July 1, 1826 – Ellen Clark Sargent born in Massachusetts, American suffragist and friend of Susan B. Anthony, who moved to California in 1852, and established the Nevada County Women’s Suffrage Association, the state’s first. Her husband, Aaron Sargent, elected as a U.S. Senator (Republican-CA, 1873-1879) was the first Senator to speak for woman’s suffrage on the Senate floor, and introduced in 1878 the 29-word bill that would become the 19th Amendment, after being unsuccessfully introduced in every Senate session for the next 40 years. Ellen Clark Sargent co-founded the Century Club, to elect women to local school boards, and was on the boards of the California Equal Suffrage Association (CESA) and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She worked tirelessly for women’s rights, and died just days after a hard-fought CESA campaign triumphantly won the vote for California women in 1911. On the day of her memorial service, for the first time, California flew flags at half mast for a woman.
- July 1, 1873 – Alice Guy-Blaché born, French filmmaker, pioneer in early cinema and narrative fiction films, one of the first women directors; founder and director of Solax Studios; her film A Fool and His Money, made in 1912, had an all-black cast.
- July 1, 1876 – Susan Glaspell born, American playwright actress, director, novelist, biographer, poet, and journalist; her play Alison’s House won the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; co-founder of the Provincetown Playhouse, where Eugene O’Neill’s early plays were first produced. Her other plays included Trifles and Inheritors. Glaspell's strong independent women protagonists lost popularity after WWII, as women were urged to return to their prior domestic roles, but she was rescued from obscurity by ‘Second Wave’ feminist scholars.
- July 1, 1887 – Amber Reeves born, New Zealand-born British author, socialist, and feminist; chose a Cambridge education over a Court Presentation as a debutante; wrote novels and non-fiction with socialist and feminist themes; member of the Labour Party, and edited Women’s Leader, a party publication.
- July 1, 1895 – Lucy Somerville Howorth born, attorney, U.S. magistrate, legislator, civil servant, and woman suffragist. On August 18, 1917, she witnessed from the gallery the Tennessee state legislature cast the deciding votes to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the long battle for women’s suffrage finally won. It inspired her to fight for the civil rights of minorities and women. She practiced law and served as a judge in Mississippi, then in the Mississippi House of Representatives (1932-1936). During the New Deal era, she was on the U.S. Board of Veterans Appeals (1936-1943), and the War Claims Commission’s general counsel (1949-1954). She returned to Mississippi and practiced law until retirement in 1975 at age 80. Howorth then co-edited her grandfather’s Civil War letters to her grandmother, published as My Dear Nellie in 1978.
- July 1, 1901 – Irna Phillips born, American scriptwriter, casting agent, and actress, “Queen of the Soaps” who created, produced, and wrote the first daytime radio and television soap operas, including radio’s Woman in White, and TV’s Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and Another World. She mentored Agnes Nixon, another daytime television pioneer.
- July 1, 1903 – Amy Johnson born, early British woman pilot, set long-distance records, including first woman to fly alone from England to Australia in six days. Serving in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during WWII, she died during an ATA delivery flight in bad weather in 1941.
- July 1, 1903 – Beatrix Lehmann born, British actress on stage, radio, screen, and TV; theatre director-producer of the Arts Council Midland Theatre Company. Lehmann also wrote novels – Virago Press reissued her Rumour of Heaven in 1987. She died at age 76 in 1979.
- July 1, 1904 – Mary Steichen Calderone born, physician and sex educator, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood (1953-1964); principal founder and president of SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council of the United States) in 1964.
- July 1, 1906 – Estée Lauder born Josephine Esther Mentzer; cosmetics pioneer, co-founder Estée Lauder Companies, originated ‘free gift with purchase,’ one of the richest self-made women in the world, recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom. She funded playgrounds in New York’s Central Park and contributed to restoration of Versailles in the 1970s.
- July 1, 1916 – Olivia de Havilland born in Tokyo to English parents. Her father was an English professor at the Imperial University, but her parents divorced, and she grew up in California. In 1934, de Havilland appeared in a community theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, leading to Max Reinhardt casting her in his film version for Warner Brothers, and a five-year contract with the studio for de Havilland. Her career took off when she co-starred with Errol Flynn in the 1938 hit film The Adventures of Robin Hood. Her new seven-year contract was for more money, but the roles she was assigned varied in quality. By early 1940, she refused some assignments, leading to a series of suspensions. At what should have been the end of her seven-year contact, she was told she still owed Warner Brothers six months to make up the time she had been suspended. Bette Davis had unsuccessfully sued Warner Brothers over this issue in the 1930s, but de Havilland filed her own suit in 1943, and won, both the original suit, and when the studio appealed to a higher court. The section of the California Labor Code that applied is still called the ‘De Havilland Law.’ Warner Brothers sent letters to other studios, blacklisting her for almost two years. During WWII, she toured the country selling war bonds, volunteered at the Hollywood Canteen, and went on a USO tour of the Pacific. Her career spanned 53 years (1935-1988) in 49 feature films. She won Oscars for Best Actress for To Each His Own and The Heiress. She died at age 104 in 2020.
- July 1, 1921 – Michalina Wisłocka born, Polish gynecologist, sexologist, author of Sztuka kochania (The Art of Loving, published in English as A Practical Guide to Marital Bliss in 1978), the first sexual intimacy book published in a Communist country. Wisłocka co-founded the Society of Sensible Maternity, and worked on infertility treatments and birth control.
- July 1, 1922 – Toshi Seeger born in Germany, American documentary filmmaker, producer, and environmental and civil rights activist; made Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison and the Emmy-winning documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. She co-founded the Newport Folk Festival, and was on the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. Married to Pete Seeger for over 69 years, she produced his public television show Rainbow Quest (1965-1966).
- July 1, 1934 – Jean Marsh born, British actress and writer; co-creator and star of the BBC television series Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975).
- July 1, 1940 – Ela Gandhi born, South African peace activist; South African Parliament member (1994-2004) aligned with the ANC (African National Congress); granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.
- July 1, 1941 – Twyla Tharp born, American dancer-choreographer; founded the Twyla Tharp Dance Company; often combined ballet with contemporary music, such as Little Deuce Coupe, choreographed for the Joffrey Ballet in 1973.
- July 1, 1942 – Dame Julia Higgins born, British polymer scientist; Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London; worked on inelastic scattering of neutrons and polymers; Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2003-2007).
- July 1, 1945 – Deborah Harry born, American singer with Blondie; supports charities for fighting cancer and endometriosis.
- July 1, 1946 – Mireya Moscoso born, first woman elected President of Panama, during handover of the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone by the U.S.
- July 1, 1949 – Néjia Ben Mabrouk born, Tunisian director and screenwriter, wrote and directed the feature film Sama, Caligari Prize winner at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival.
- July 1, 1951 – Anne Feeney born, American folk singer-songwriter, anti-war activist, and civil rights advocate. In 1972, she co-founded Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, campaigning for a rape crisis center in Pittsburgh. The only woman elected as president of the Pittsburgh Musicians’ Union (1997-1998), and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.
- July 1, 1951 – Julia Goodfellow born, English physicist and academic; first woman president of the academic organization Universities UK (2015-2017). Worked on structural studies of the corneal stroma. In 2011, she was on the Council for Science and Technology. In 2018, she was the Royal Society of Biology’s president.
- July 1, 1953 – Jadranka Kosor born, Croatian journalist and moderate conservative politician; first woman Prime Minister of Croatia (2009-2011).
- July 1, 1963 – Linda L. Fagan born, first woman U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, since 2022; also the Coast Guard’s first woman four-star admiral, appointed by President Biden in June 2021 as Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. She was Commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, and the first recipient of the Coast Guard’s Gold Ancient Trident, for the longest service record in the Marine Safety field.
- July 1, 1977 – Jessica Meir born, American-Swedish NASA astronaut, marine biologist, and physiologist. Assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, following research in comparative physiology at the University of British Columbia. Studied the diving physiology and behavior of emperor penguins in Antarctica, and the physiology of bar-headed geese, which migrate over the Himalayas. In September 2002, Meir was on the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 4 (NEEMO 4) crew. In 2013, she was one of 8 chosen out of over 6,300 applicants for Astronaut Group 21. In 2016, Meir participated in the ESA CAVES training course in a space-analogue cave environment for international astronauts. In 2019, she was a flight engineer aboard Soyuz MS-15 during Expeditions 61 and 62. On October 18, 2019, Meir and Christina Koch were the first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk.
- July 1, 1981 – Nell Dunn’s play, Steaming, with an all-female cast, premiered in London.
- July 1, 1991 – President George H.W. Bush nominated federal appeals court judge and accused sexual harasser Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, confirmed by a 52-48 vote, the narrowest approval margin in more than a century, after Anita Hill’s testimony was disregarded.
- July 1, 2000 – Vermont's civil unions law grants gay couples most of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of a civil marriage.
- July 1, 2014 – Vice Admiral Michelle J. Howard is the first woman promoted to 4-star Admiral, the U.S. Navy’s highest rank.
- July 1, 2019 – High-profile Democrats touring migrant detention facilities in Texas called for firing Customs and Border Patrol agents who reportedly joked about migrant deaths in a secret Facebook group. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, led by Representative Joaquin Castro (Democrat-Texas), also condemned vulgar images agents allegedly posted of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat-NY) and called for a full Department of Homeland Security investigation. The lawmakers described detention center conditions as "appalling," particularly for migrant women. Ocasio-Cortez witnessed Customs and Border Protection officers telling migrant women to drink water out of toilets, and one woman told her officers would wake them at odd hours, calling them "whores." Representative Judy Chu (Democrat-CA) corroborated this account, saying "changes must be made."
- July 1, 2020 – Computer scientist Barbara Simons honored with the 2019 ACM Policy Award for long-standing, high-impact leadership as president (1998-2000) of the Association for Computing Machinery, and the founding chair of ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee. A long-time advocate for technology regulation, and for safeguarding elections in the digital age, she advanced technology policy by leading organizations, writing influential publications, and through lobbying and public education.
- July 1, 2020 – Nadeen Ashraf ignites the #MeToo movement in Egypt. The 22-year-old philosophy major, up late studying for an exam, stopped to search for a Facebook post by another American University (Cairo) student warning about a man who allegedly harassed or assaulted women on campus, then blackmailed them into silence. The post had disappeared, deleted with no explanation. Angry, Ashraf created an Instagram page, using the pseudonym @assaultpolice, to identify Ahmed Bassam Zaki, listing accusations of his sexual misconduct against women, and showing his photograph. “This guy had been getting away with stuff since the 10th grade,” she said. “Every time a woman opened her mouth, someone taped it shut. I wanted to stop that.” After creating the page, she fell asleep and slept through her exam, while hundreds of comments applauded her post, and women sent over two dozen messages confiding that Zaki had assaulted them, including some saying he raped them. Within a week, Zaki was under arrest, her @assaultpolice account had 70,000 followers and testimonies poured in from other Egyptian women fed up with being humiliated and violated. Sexual assault is a huge problem in Egypt — a United Nations study in 2013 found that 99 percent of Egyptian women experienced harassment or violence — but reporting it is notoriously difficult. Police officials are reluctant to register assault cases. Powerful institutions sweep accusations under the rug. Even families of victims, afraid of scandal or feeling a misplaced sense of shame, tend to hush it up. On September 1, authorities charged Zaki, age 21, with three counts of sexually assaulting underage women, and multiple counts of blackmail and harassment. He was sentenced to three years in prison for online sexual harassment in December 2020.
- July 2, 1363 – Maria, Queen of Sicily and Duchess of Athens and Neopatria, born; she was 13 when her father died in 1377. Artale Alagona became regent as her father wished, but three other heads of baronial families forced him to form a four-way regency. In 1379, 16-year-old Maria about to be married to Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, was kidnapped by William Raymond of Montcada to prevent the marriage, and imprisoned for two years, a move approved by her grandfather King Peter IV of Aragon. In 1382, she was rescued by a fleet from Aragon. In 1384, Maria married Martin the Younger, King Peter’s grandson. Maria and Martin led a military campaign in 1392 to take back her throne, and became co-rulers. In 1400, she gave birth to a son, but he and Maria died in 1401, setting off a succession crisis as Martin only ruled by right of his wife. He remarried and held the throne until his death in 1409, and Sicily came under the rule of the Crown of Aragon.
- July 2, 1575 – Elizabeth de Vere born, Countess of Derby; Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I of England until her marriage in 1595 to William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. Upon his death in 1642, she took over his position as Lord of Mann (1614-1627), the first woman to rule as head of state of the Isle of Mann (also spelled Man).
- July 2, 1865 – Lily Braun born as Amalie von Kretschmann, German feminist writer, journalist, and a leader of German feminists who believed in more gradual societal change. Braun was a Social Democratic Party member, and worked for the feminist newspaper Die Frauenbewegung (The Women’s Movement); advocate for women’s economic freedom, protection of mothers and children, and replacing marriage with new types of personal relationships.
- July 2, 1876 – Harriet Brooks born, first Canadian woman nuclear physicist, who worked on nuclear transmutations and radioactivity. One of the first people to discover radon, she did pioneering work in determining its atomic mass. Admitted to McGill University in 1894, shortly after McGill’s first women students graduated in 1888 with Bachelor of Arts degrees, but was ineligible for a scholarship her first two years because of her gender. Brooks graduated with first-class honours, and a B.A. in mathematics and natural philosophy in 1898. She was the first woman to earn a master’s degree from McGill, in electromagnetism. Her experiments to determine the nature of the radioactive emissions from thorium were a stepping-stone toward development of nuclear science. In 1905, she was a faculty member at Barnard College in the U.S. In 1906, she became engaged, but broke it off when the college trustees insisted, over her objections and those of Margaret Maltby, head of the Barnard physics department, that a married woman couldn’t remain on the faculty. She met Marie Curie later that year, and went to work as a member of Curie’s staff at the Institut du Radium in Paris. Though none of her research was published under her name, she was cited in articles published under the aegis of the Curie Institute. In 1907, she married McGill physics instructor Frank Pitcher, and ended both her career in physics and as an academic. She died in 1933 at the age of 57, of a ‘blood disorder’ – probably leukaemia caused by radiation exposure. The New York Times published her obituary, crediting her as the “discoverer of the recoil of a radioactive atom.”
- July 2, 1879 – Genevieve Cline born, American lawyer and judge, first woman named to the federal judiciary, advocate for consumer protection, women’s rights, and suffrage.
- July 2, 1896 – Lydia Mei born, Estonian painter, known for watercolors and still-life paintings.
- July 2, 1918 – Frances Reed Elliot becomes the first African American woman accepted into the American Red Cross Nursing Service.
- July 2, 1922 – Eleanor Leacock born, cultural anthropologist, studied Native North Americans, and issues of gender and class, racism, and poverty. Her essay “Interpreting the Origins of Gender Inequality: Conceptual and Historical Problems" was very influential.
- July 2, 1923 – Wisława Szymborska born, Polish poet, essayist, and translator; won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature, the 1995 Herder Prize, and the 1991 Goethe Prize; called the “Mozart of Poetry” and the woman “who mixed elegance of language with the fury of Beethoven ...” Some of her poetry collections have been translated into English, including View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems, and Monologue of a Dog.
- July 2, 1937 – Amelia Earhart’s plane went missing over the Pacific Ocean, believed to be somewhere near Howland Island.
- July 2, 1943 – Ivi Eenmaa born, Estonian librarian and politician; head of the Estonian National Library (1993-1997); first woman mayor of Tallinn (1997-1999); elected to the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) in 2007.
- July 2, 1947 – Ann Taylor born, Baroness Taylor of Bolton, British Labour politician; Chief Whip in the Commons and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (1998-2001); first woman Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council; Member of Parliament (1974-2005); a Life Peer since 2005.
- July 2, 1950 – Dame Lynne Brindley born, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, since 2013; first woman Chief Executive of the British Library, the UK’s national library (2000-2012); Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
- July 2, 1951 – Sylvia Rivera born, American gay liberation and transgender rights activist of Venezuelan-Puerto Rican heritage; Gay Activists Alliance member, and co-founder with Marsha P. Johnson of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), dedicated to helping homeless gay youth, trans women, drag queens, and later AIDS patients who lost their homes. She struggled with substance abuse, and sometimes lived on the streets herself, especially after Marsha Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, ruled a suicide by police, but believed by Rivera and others to be a murder. Rivera died in 2002 from liver cancer.
- July 2, 1960 – Maria Lourdes Sereno born, Filipina lawyer and judge; appointed by Benigno Aquino III as de facto Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (2012-2018), the first woman to head the judiciary. Removed from office in an 8-6 decision over a quo warranto petition (demand for one to show one’s right to authority) voiding her appointment in 2018, believed to be politically motivated because of her vocal criticism of Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines (2016-2022).
- July 2, 1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act; Title VII prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.
- July 2, 1971 – Evelyn Lau born to Chinese-Canadian parents from Hong Kong, Canadian poet and writer; her parents demanded she become a doctor, but the pressure caused her to run away from home. Homeless for over two years, she chronicled her experiences in Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid; she has since published short stories and essays, six collections of poetry, and a novel, Other Women.
- July 2, 1979 – U.S. Mint releases an ill-conceived dollar coin meant to honor Susan B. Anthony.
- July 2, 1990 – Margot Robbie born, Australian actress, co-founder of LuckyChap Entertainment, to produce films and the Hulu series Dollface, which premiered in 2019. She appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street, and as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey. Her portrayal of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in the 2017 film I, Tonya was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. An outspoken supporter of human rights, women’s rights, gender equality, and LGBT rights, her production company seeks women writers, directors, and producers for its projects. She worked on projects for the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, and Oxfam, as well as supporting the campaign for legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia.
- July 2, 1994 – Fallon Sherrock born, English professional darts player; in 2019, became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championships, and two consecutive additional matches, before losing in the third round. She was dubbed “Queen of the Palace” as the event took place at the Alexandra Palace.
- July 2, 2019 – British-based media and newspaper company, Guardian News & Media, issued a report that the company’s gender pay gap, calculated by median hourly pay, fell from 8.4% in 2018 to 4.9% in 2019. On a mean basis –the total paid to each gender divided by the number of employees of that gender – the GNM pay gap is 11%, down from 11.7% last year. But among those who received bonuses, the median gap was 2.8% – widening from a zero gap last year. The top half of the organization is now 41% female, compared with 36% in 2017, but 63% of the lowest-paid staff were women, up from 61% in 2018. GNM published the data under the government’s compulsory gender pay gap initiative, introduced in 2017, which requires all private and public sector organizations and charities with more than 250 employees to submit annual figures.
- July 2, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme Court left abortion protest zones in place in Chicago, Illinois, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The justices declined to hear two appeals by anti-abortion groups of lower court rulings upholding the cities’ ordinances. Chicago’s policy bars anti-abortion activists from getting within eight feet of a person who is within 50 feet of a health-care facility if their intention is to offer the person counseling or anti-abortion leaflets. The Harrisburg policy bars them from gathering within 20 feet of a clinic's entrance or exit. Both rules were enacted to prevent protesters from harassing women seeking services at abortion clinics. Anti-abortion groups and activists said the protest zone rules violated their free speech rights, while women's health-care providers said activists posed a threat to public safety, citing a history of violent acts committed against abortion providers and women’s healthcare facilities.
- July 2, 2021 – Over 60,000 women and children poured out of Isis’s last Syrian stronghold when the so-called caliphate fell in March 2019. They are detained in al-Hawl detention camp, run by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Their imprisonment rallied Isis supporters across the world, and “marrying” one of the imprisoned women – in a long-distance, online relationship – was promoted on jihadists’ social media networks. Hundreds of women with Islamic State links in Syria’s sprawling detention camp have “married” men they met online and several hundred were smuggled out of the facility using cash bribes gifted by their new husbands. The “marriages” are conducted over the phone. It isn’t even necessary for the woman to be on the call: a mediating sheikh says a few verses and then pronounces the groom as her new wali, or guardian, and the bride then receives cash or a new mobile phone as a dowry. The camp’s inhabitants received wire payments upwards of $500,000 (£360,000 UK), according to women inside al-Hawl, local Kurdish officials, a former Isis member in eastern Europe with knowledge of the money transfer network, and a foreign fighter in Idlib province involved in smuggling. The practice is a significant security risk inside Syria and for foreign governments refusing to take their nationals home. Most prospective husbands appear to have roots in Muslim countries but live in western Europe, where they are relatively well-off. The camp’s women secure an income that makes life in al-Hawl more bearable: money for daily necessities such as food, medicine, diapers, and phone credit. Some get enough to pay other women to cook and clean.
- July 3, 1790 – Nicolas de Condorcet, marquis de Condorcet, published “De l’admission des femmes au droit de cité“ (For the Admission to the Rights of Citizenship For Women) strongly advocating for women’s suffrage in the new Republic as well as extending basic political and social rights to include women. Condorcet identified gender as a social construction based on perceived differences in sex, rejecting biological determinism as an explanation of gender relations in society, and denouncing patriarchal norms of oppression, present at every institutional level, which continuously subjugate and marginalize women. He identified education as crucial to the emancipation of individuals: ″I believe that all other differences between men and women are simply the result of education.″
- July 3, 1860 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman born, American feminist leader, sociologist, author, poet, and social reform lecturer; known for her subtly terrifying short-story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” but her non-fiction works, like Women and Economics, and The Home: Its Work and Influence, contributed much to feminist thought; from 1909-1916, Gilman single-handedly wrote and edited The Forerunner, a monthly magazine where her ideas first appeared. She produced 86 issues, each 28 pages long, for nearly 1,500 subscribers, from 1909 through 1916.
- July 3, 1885 – Anna Dickie Olesen born, American Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from Minnesota in 1922, first woman nominated by a major party to run for the office. She was the first woman on the Democratic National Committee (1917–1924). Olesen was also active with the League of Women Voters.
- July 3, 1901 – Ruth Crawford Seeger born, American modernist composer and folk music expert. In 1930, she became the first woman composer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. She worked at the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Song. Her best-known work is String Quarter 1931. Pete Seeger was her stepson. She died at age 52 from cancer in 1953.
- July 3, 1908 – M.F.K. Fisher born as Mary Frances Kennedy, influential American food writer, author of 26 books, and translator of The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin; her books Serve It Forth, Consider the Oyster, and How to Cook a Wolf are classics.
- July 3, 1913 – Dorothy Kilgallen born, American newspaper reporter and columnist; remembered as a panelist on the TV game show What’s My Line?, and for her syndicated column and radio program, The Voice of Broadway, but she began as a reporter for The New York Evening Journal. Kilgallen covered President Kennedy’s assassination, and the 1954 Sam Sheppard murder trial. Years later, after the presiding judge was dead, she revealed he had told her off the record before the start of jury selection that Sheppard was “guilty as hell.” Her statement, and a corroborating statement from the court clerk, helped Attorney F. Lee Bailey’s 1964 habeas corpus petition secure Sheppard’s release, as well as a new trial, in which Sheppard was acquitted.
- July 3, 1926 – Rae Allen born as Raffaella Abruzzo, American actress and theatre director; won 1971’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, and played Dottie and Kit’s mother in A League of Their Own.
- July 3, 1929 – Joanne King Herring born, American socialite and political activist; used her connections with President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988) and U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson (D-TX 1973-1997) to sway the U.S. government to train and arm the Mujahideen resistance fighters in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, codename ‘Operation Cyclone,’ which inspired the book Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History.
- July 3, 1938 – Jean Aitchison born, English linguist and academic; Professor of Language and Communication and a Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford; noted for Socio-historical linguistics, and language’s relationship to the mind and to media.
- July 3, 1940 – Fontella Bass born, American R& B and soul singer-songwriter; “Rescue Me” (1965).
- July 3, 1941 – Gloria Allred born, American women’s and civil rights attorney on high-profile and controversial cases, especially cases involving employment discrimination and sexual harassment.
- July 3, 1967 – Katy Sloan Clark born, British Labour politician; Member of Parliament (2005-2015); campaigns for human rights, refugee rights, LGBTQ+ rights, against nuclear proliferation, and supports trade unions.
- July 3, 1970 – Audra McDonald born, American Broadway stage actress and singer; winner of six Tony Awards, the most Tony wins by an actor, and the only winner in all four acting categories. Two-time Grammy Award winner for classical and opera recordings. Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2017.
- July 3, 1984 – Roberts v. United States Jaycees: the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-0 against the national Jaycees, concluding Jaycee chapters lacked “the distinctive characteristics that might afford constitutional protection to the decision of its members to exclude women.” Originally the Jaycees accepted only male members, but in the early 1970s began admitting women as associate members with no voting privileges. Two Minnesota chapters sought to admit women as full members. The national Jaycees threatened to revoke their charters, but they sued under Minnesota’s public accommodations law, which bans discrimination against women by membership organizations.
- July 3, 1996 – Women’s Day in Myanmar set on March 8th by the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs, formed to ensure the security and development of all Myanmar women.
- July 3, 2017 – Fox Sports abruptly fired its president of national networks, Jamie Horowitz, as the company investigated sexual harassment allegations. "Everyone at Fox Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times," Fox Sports President Eric Shanks wrote in an email to employees. "These values are non-negotiable." Horowitz was terminated “for cause” according to Daniel Petrocelli, Fox Sports litigator: “We are confident that Mr. Horowitz knows why his employment was terminated, and we presume that he would prefer that the matter not publicly be discussed.” Sexual harassment claims and lawsuits had previously brought down Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes and commentator Bill O'Reilly of The O’Reilly Factor. Jamie Horowitz is now a VP of Development & Digital at WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
- July 3, 2019 – U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett blocked implementation of Ohio's new law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, pending results of a legal challenge by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Judge Barrett ruled the law would violate a Supreme Court precedent by imposing an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose an abortion before the fetus is viable. Many women don't know they are pregnant until after six weeks. The law made no exceptions for rape or incest, making it one of the nation’s strictest anti-abortion measures. Five other states approved so-called “heartbeat” abortion bills in 2019, and one in Mississippi was already blocked. In November, the Ohio Senate passed a bill promoting the unproven practice of “abortion reversal.” State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) claimed the two-step medication abortion can be reversed by taking progesterone instead of the second abortion-inducing pill, and her bill requires doctors to tell women that. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the untested ‘treatment” could have dangerous side effects. An attempted study of the procedure at the University of California-Davis was cut short in December 2019 after three of the 12 women enrolled in the study were rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment of severe vaginal bleeding. The research to that point didn’t show if progesterone was effective or not in reversing a medical abortion, but the results raised serious concerns about the safety of using mifepristone without taking misoprostol, the medication-based abortion regimen’s second step.
- July 3, 2020 – Programs created for India’s market by streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hotstar, set off a coordinated backlash over their content, which isn’t subject to regulations that control Bollywood films and traditional Indian television. Swara Bhasker, a Bollywood actress known for her outspoken criticism of the Indian government, and star of Amazon Prime’s Rasbhari, became the victim of a hate campaign online, and was publicly criticized by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Bhasker believes her dissenting political views, even more than her show’s content, made her a target. Rasbhari, about a teacher arriving in Meerut, a small Uttar Pradesh city, addresses teen sexuality, sexual repression, and the societal double standards for Indian men and women, but no nudity or graphic scenes are shown. Yet within 24 hours of its debut, thousand of tweets and threats accused the show of being obscene, vulgar, and both anti-Indian and anti-Hindu. Coordinated reviews on IMDb rated the show a one, the lowest possible score, in 80% of the voting. The Netflix futuristic series Leila, starring Huma Quershi, about an oppressive regime segregating society, was also hit by a fierce backlash. Paatal Lok, another Amazon Prime drama, starring and co-produced by Anushka Sharma, one of Bollywood’s best known actresses, faced relentless complaints and vicious comments about its portrayal of police brutality, how minorities are treated, and rape and other attacks on Muslims. In May, 2020, a Nepali organization sent a legal notice to the producers saying the use of the word “caste” by a police officer interrogating a Nepali character insulted the entire Nepali community in India. Streaming services are very popular among India’s millions of young people, but the current ruling political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is right-wing and Hindu nationalist, opposes western influences in India, and wants strict laws against web series that “hurt the fabric of Indian society.” Prasoon Joshi, chair of the Central Board of Film Certification, criticized Rasbhari’s “irresponsible content” and said “creators and audiences need to seriously rethink freedom of expression.”
- July 3, 2021 – As Ukraine prepared for a military parade in August marking 30 years of independence following the Soviet Union’s breakup, authorities faced controversy over an official photograph showing women soldiers practicing for the parade marching in black mid-heel pumps. “Today, for the first time, training takes place in heeled shoes,” cadet Ivanna Medvid was quoted on the defence ministry’s information site ArmiaInform. “It is slightly harder than in army boots but we are trying.” Several Ukrainian lawmakers close to Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko showed up in parliament with pairs of heels and encouraged the defence minister to wear high heels to the parade. “It is hard to imagine a more idiotic, harmful idea,” said Inna Sovsun, a Golos party member, pointing to health risks. She added that Ukraine’s women soldiers – like men – were risking their lives and “do not deserve to be mocked.” Over 3,500 women fought in the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s industrial east, and more than 31,000 women serve in Ukrainian armed forces. Over 4,000 women are officers.
- July 4, 68 CE – Salonia Matidia born; Trajan, her maternal uncle, thought highly of her intelligence and listened to her opinions; her daughter married Hadrian, who became Roman Emperor after Trajan; when Matidia died in 119, Hadrian delivered her funeral oration, deified her, and granted her a temple and altar in Rome itself, the first divinized Roman woman with a full-scale temple of her own, not shared with her husband.
- July 4, 414 – Emperor Theodosius II, age 13, yields power to his older sister Aelia Pulcheria, who vowed perpetual virginity, and acted as her brother’s guardian. She was proclaimed Augusta, the Roman honorific given to empresses and honored women of imperial families. She continued to wield some power even after Theodosius reached his majority, until his marriage in 421 to Aelia Eudocia.
- July 4, 1862 – In a rowing boat during a picnic outing, 10-year-old Alice Liddell asked Charles Dodgson for a story. He told Alice and her sisters Edith and Lorina about a girl named Alice who fell down a rabbit-hole. Alice Liddell asked him to write the story down for her, and in 1864, he presented to her the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Dodgson decided to rewrite the story and get it published. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, under the pen name ‘Lewis Carroll’ was published in 1865, with illustrations by John Tenniel.
- July 4, 1868 – Henrietta Swan Leavitt born, American astronomer; discovered the relationship between luminosity and variables associated with Cepheid stars, which vary regularly in brightness in periods ranging from a few days to several months, during her study of hundreds of variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds. The Period-Luminosity relation is used by astronomers to calculate the distance between Earth and other galaxies.
- July 4, 1876 – Suffragists crashed the Centennial Celebration in Independence Hall to present Vice President Richard Henry Lee with the “Declaration of the Rights of Women” co-written by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. “... Our faith is firm and unwavering in the broad principles of human rights proclaimed in 1776, not only as abstract truths, but as the cornerstones of a republic. Yet we cannot forget, even in this glad hour, that while all men of every race, and clime, and condition, have been invested with the full rights of citizenship under our hospitable flag, all women still suffer the degradation of disfranchisement ...”
- July 4, 1898 – Dr. Pilar Barbosa de Rosario born, Puerto Rican historian, educator, and political activist; daughter of Puerto Rican Senator Jose Barbosa, “the Father of the Puerto Rican Statehood Movement.” She got her Doctorate in History at Clark University in Massachusetts, and was the first woman professor at University of Puerto Rico’s College of Liberal Arts. In 1929, she established the Department of History and Social Sciences, and was its director until 1943, but taught until her retirement in 1967. She followed her father in the statehood movement, and was a political advisor to New Progressive Party members like Resident Commissioner and Governor Luis Fortuño (2009-2013). Named by the Legislative Assembly as Official Historian of Puerto Rico in 1993, she died at age 98 in 1996.
- July 4, 1898 – Gertrude Lawrence born, British actress, singer and dancer, international theatrical and film star; during WWII, she traveled under grueling conditions to entertain troops in both Europe and the Pacific.
- July 4, 1900 – Belinda Boyd Dann, Australian, born as Quinlyn Warrakoo to a Nykina mother and an Irish cattle station manager. One of the “stolen generations,” she was taken from her mother at age 8, and sent to Beagle Bay Mission in Western Australia, where her name was changed to Belinda Boyd. She married Mathias Dann in 1918. Although she remembered Warrakoo was her name, she didn’t know who she was or where she came from. After one of her grandsons told her story and her original name to a friend connected to the Nykina people, in 2007 Warrakoo met her 97-year-old brother for the first time, just weeks before he died, speaking the Nykina language again after almost a century. She died a few months later at age 107.
- July 4, 1900 – Nellie Mae Rowe born, Africa-American self-taught folk artist; her yard and home were her primary canvas, which she referred to as her ‘playhouse’; dismantled and torn down after her death in 1982, it was replaced by a hotel, which has a plaque identifying the site’s previous inhabitant.
- July 4, 1903 – Dorothy Levitt becomes first English woman to compete in a 'motor race.' She also held the world's first water speed record and the women's world land speed record. Levitt popularized motoring for women by teaching Queen Alexandra and the Royal Princesses how to drive. In 1908, she published The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for All Women Who Motor or Want to Motor, telling women to "carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic," introducing the “rear view mirror” before manufacturers added them in 1914.
- July 4, 1910 – “America the Beautiful” published; lyrics from the poem “America” (title changed from “Pikes Peak” for publication) by Katherine Lee Bates, and music by Samuel A. Ward.
- July 4, 1910 – Gloria Stuart born, American film and stage actress, visual artist, political and environmental activist; made her first movie appearance in 1932, and played her last role in 2004, with a gap from 1945 to 1975, in which she left acting, and worked as artist in several mediums, including painting, making fine prints and miniature books, and shaping Bonsai. In 1975, she returned to acting, in small parts in TV and film. In 1996, she was cast as the older Rose in Titanic, five days after her 86th birthday, then was nominated for the 1997 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Stuart had campaigned for an actors’ union, and was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild. She helped form the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League in 1936, and was co-founder with Dorothy Parker of the League to Support the Spanish War Orphans. Also a long-time environmentalist: “I belong to every organization that has to do with saving the environment.” She died at age 100.
- July 4, 1911 – Susanna Kok born in South Africa’s Free State province; Dutch Reformed Church medical missionary and authority on leprosy. She worked mainly in Mkar, Nigeria, and was the first to describe and study what came to be called Mkar disease (granuloma multiforme), a skin disease similar to leprosy, which doesn’t respond to treatment as leprosy does. Also studied nerve conduction in leprosy patients, and made nerve biopsies the standard procedure for diagnosing leprosy, replacing the less successful skin analysis used previously.
- July 4, 1916 – Sisters Adeline and Augusta Van Buren began a transcontinental motorcycle tour, leaving from Brooklyn NY, and arriving in Los Angeles CA, on September 8, 1916. America was on the brink of entering WWI, and they wanted to prove they could ride as well as men, and become military dispatch riders. They also hoped women serving in a military capacity would remove a primary argument against giving women the vote. Defying convention in dress, they wore military-style leggings and leather riding breeches, causing some conflicts with police as they rode across the U.S.
- July 4, 1924 – Delia Fiallo born in Cuba, Cuban author, screenwriter, and “mother of the telenovela.”
- July 4, 1934 – Yvonne B. Miller born, American Democratic politician, civil rights activist, and teacher; first African American woman elected to both houses of the Virginia state legislature; first woman to chair a Virginia Senate committee; she died while in office as the longest-serving woman in the Virginia Senate to that time.
- July 4, 1940 – Karolyn Grimes born, American child actress, played Zuzu Bailey in the perennial holiday favorite, 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and Debbie in the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife. Her mother, who managed her career, died when she was 14, and her father was killed in a car accident the next year. She went to live with relatives in rural Missouri, then attended college to become a medical technologist. She married, had two children, divorced, then married a man with three children, and they had two more children. There was financial hardship, her youngest child died, then her second husband died of cancer. But renewed interest in It’s a Wonderful Life in the early 1980s led Jimmy Stewart to wonder what had happened to the little girl who played Zuzu. Grimes was 39 years old when Stewart's secretary tracked her down. She had never seen the film, but was hired to introduce it at screenings. Fans asked for her autograph, and she got fan mail. The “Bailey kids” were reunited for a national tour at Christmas in the 1990s. Grimes said. "It was fabulous. I had the best time ever. I didn't realize how much people loved this film. They seemed to just embrace us so much and put us in their hearts." She met a psychologist who worked at a homeless shelter in Seattle, they got married, and she moved to Washington. She still appears at screenings of It’s a Wonderful Life, especially at an annual event in Seneca Falls, NY, the inspiration for the film’s fictional town, “Bedford Falls.”
- July 4, 1951 – Kathleen Kennedy Townsend born, American attorney, Democratic politician, and author; since 2010, chair of American Bridge, a non-profit raising funds for Democratic candidates and causes; Lieutenant Governor of Maryland (1995-2003).
- July 4, 1963 – Sonia Pierre born, Dominican human rights advocate, worked to end Antihaitianismo, discrimination against persons of Haitian origin in the Dominican Republic; recipient of Amnesty International’s 2003 Human Rights Ginetta Sagan Fund Award and the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. She grew up in a migrant workers’ camp, one of 12 children, whose father was an undocumented worker from Haiti. Her mother came with a temporary work permit in 1957. Pierre’s nationality was disputed by the Junta Central Electoral, which said her birth certificate was forged. She began her political activism at age 14, organizing a five-day protest by sugar cane workers for better living conditions and wages. She was arrested, but the workers’ demands were met. She became director of the Movement for Dominican Women of Haitian Descent (MUDHA). In 2005, she petitioned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to hear the case of two ethnic Haitian children denied Dominican birth certificates, Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, “upheld human rights laws prohibiting racial discrimination in access to nationality and citizenship.” The court ordered the Dominican government to provide the birth certificates, but the Dominican Supreme Court later ruled that “Haitian workers were considered ‘in transit,’ and that their children were therefore not entitled to citizenship.”
- July 4, 1973 – Keiko Ihara born, Japanese race car driver, who has been racing internationally since 2000.
- July 4, 2019 – Utah State’s Museum of Anthropology hosted an exhibit of works by key cartoonist and women’s rights activist Nina Allender, whose cartoons appeared between 1913 and 1920 in The Suffragist, the weekly newspaper published by the National Women’s Party in Washington DC. The exhibit, “Women Speaking to Women: The Political Art of Nina Allender” ran through August 30.
- July 4, 2020 – The Covid-19 lockdown in Palestine left many women with no legal backing to secure child visitation and custody rights. Former partners used the legal paralysis to prevent mothers from seeing their children, or to stop sending alimony. Family law in Palestine, based on Islamic Family Law, regulates Muslims’ marriage, divorce, custody, and alimony rights. In a survey, 68 per cent of all Palestinian women reported increased unpaid care work since COVID-19 confinement measures took effect, and many of them lost their income from outside work. Few women could afford lawyers to file custody or alimony cases. Maryse Guimond, UN Women Special Representative for Palestine, said, “We have seen how COVID-19 has negatively impacted Palestinian women in so many different ways, including its impact on their child custody rights. In times of crisis, no effort should be spared to help women access justice and reclaim their rights.” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is a joint programme by UN women, the UN Development Programme, and UNICEF, has trained lawyers and provided free legal aid for 371 Palestinian women. Mona al-Shawa, Director of PCHR’s Women’s Unit, says, “Most of the women who come to us cannot even afford transportation. The most urgent cases were alimony cases. The other cases were about children visitation and custody rights.”
- July 4, 2021 – In Paris, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced multiple commitments to drive change for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity after the Generation Equality Forum. The WHO commitments focus on ending gender-based violence; advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights; and supporting health workers as well as feminist movements and leadership. These commitments are a transformative blueprint for advancing health equity and global empowerment of women and girls. The Generation Equality Forum, held 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women, came at a critical time, as COVID-19 continued to exacerbate existing gender inequalities. WHO led in two key areas of the Forum: the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence (co-led with UN Women and other partners) and the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative. WHO will also partner with Wellspring, Ford Foundation, UN Women, and the Government of the United Kingdom, in launching the Shared Agenda Advocacy Accelerator (the Accelerator) advocating for increasing resources for preventing violence against women and girls.
- July 5, 1755 – Sarah Siddons born into the noted British theatrical Kemble family; the most famous and admired English actress of her generation. “The Queen of Drury Lane” (London’s theatre district) was famed for her portrayal of tragic roles, especially Lady Macbeth. One of the first actresses to play the title role in Hamlet. In 1812, during her farewell performance as Lady Macbeth, the audience applause and shouts at the end of the sleep-walking scene were so tumultuous that the curtain was brought down, then raised several minutes later to reveal Siddons, no longer dressed as Lady Macbeth. She made her farewell speech to the audience without finishing the play.
- July 5, 1857 – Clara Zetkin born, German Marxist theorist and activist, women’s rights advocate. Went into exile in Paris when Bismarck banned socialist activity in Germany, and helped organize the Socialist International in 1889; also a key organizer of the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, which endorsed inaugurating an international day of action for women’s suffrage, now International Women’s Day; the Clara Zetkin Medal honors women active in women’s rights.
- July 5, 1879 – Wanda Landowska born, Polish harpsichordist, first person to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord; a major figure in reviving the harpsichord’s popularity in the 20th century.
- July 5, 1888 – Louise Freeland Jenkins born, American astronomer; compiled a catalogue of stars within 10 parsecs of the sun; editor, 3rd edition of the Yale Bright Star Catalogue; pursued research on trigonometric parallax of nearby stars, and variable stars.
- July 5, 1899 – Anna Arnold Hedgeman born, American civil rights leader, politician, and writer; first African American woman appointed to a mayoral cabinet post in New York; YWCA executive director; executive secretary of the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC), assistant dean of women at Howard University.
- July 5, 1905 – Madeleine Sylvain-Bouchereau born, pioneering Haitian sociologist, a principal founder of the Ligue Féminine d’Action Sociale (Women’s Social Action League), the first feminist organization in Haiti, and a regular contributor to its journal La Voix des Femmes. After graduating in law at the University of Haiti (1933), she studied education and sociology at the University of Puerto Rico (1936-1938), and got her doctorate in sociology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania (1941). Published Haïti et ses femmes: Une étude d’évolution culturelle (Haiti and its Women: A Study of Cultural Evolution) in 1957. Taught at Haiti’s Ethnology Institute (1941-1945), then at Fisk University. Haitian delegate to the Third Inter-American Conference on Education in 1937, and took part in a UN effort to arrange social services for Polish political prisoners in 1944; government of Togo advisor on community development (1966-1968).
- July 5, 1914 – Annie Fischer born, Hungarian classical pianist and composer. In 1933, at age 19, she won the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Budapest. Fischer and her husband fled to Sweden in 1940, where they remained until WWII ended. She made many live concert recordings, and an in-studio complete set of the Beethoven piano sonatas. She died in Budapest at age 80 in 1995.
- July 5, 1920 – Mary Louise Hancock born, American politician and activist; New Hampshire state senator and the state’s first woman Planning Director, she later worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Known as the “Grand Dame” of New Hampshire politics, she was awarded a Robert Frost Award and the Susan B. Anthony Award. An obituary said, “... More than a Senator and a glass-ceiling shattering woman, she was the embodiment of what it meant to be a New Hampshire Democrat.” New Hampshire’s governor proclaimed July 5 as Mary Louise Hancock Day in 2000.
- July 5, 1922 – Dutch women vote for the first time.
- July 5, 1922 – Mitsuye Yamada born as Mitsuye Yasutake in Fukuoka, Japan; Japanese-American activist, feminist, fiction author, poet, essayist, editor, and professor of English. Her father went to work as an interpreter for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the family lived in Seattle. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, her father was wrongfully arrested by the FBI for espionage, so her family was interned at Mindoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. She was only allowed to attend the University of Cincinnati after she renounced loyalty to the Emperor of Japan. Her first book, Camp Notes and Other Poems, was written during the war, but not published until 1976. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1955, five years after her marriage to Yoshikasu Yamada, who was born in Hawaii, and had served as a medic and a translator in the U.S. Army during WWII. Her other works include Lighthouse, her essay "Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster," and Full Circle: New and Selected Poems.
- July 5, 1937 – Nita Meinikoff Lowey born, American Democratic politician; member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York (1989-2021), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee (2019-2021).
- July 5, 1944 – Leni Björklund born, Swedish politician, first female Minister of Defence for Sweden (2002-2006); Secretary-General of the Church of Sweden (1999-2002).
- July 5, 1953 – Caryn Linda Navy born, American mathematician and computer scientist. Blind from retinopathy of prematurity; worked on set-theoretic topology and Braille technology; graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), honored with the AMITA Senior Academic Award from the Association of MIT Alumnae.
- July 5, 1958 – Veronica Guerin born, Irish journalist; in 1990, left working in accountancy and public relations to be a reporter for the Sunday Business Post and Sunday Tribune; in 1994, she began writing about crime for the Sunday Independent, using her accounting skills to trace money from illegal drug transactions. She got death threats, including shots fired into her home in 1994, and a gunman who rang her doorbell, then as she opened the door, pushed his way in and shot her in the leg. Drug kingpin John Gilligan beat her up when she questioned him about his lavish lifestyle with no source of income. She continued her investigations, and was honored in 1995 with the International Press Freedom Award. In June 1996, John Traynor, a Gilligan lieutenants, sought a High Court order to prevent publication of her book about his involvement in organized crime, and she was scheduled to speak at a Freedom Forum conference in London on the topic of “Dying to Tell the Truth: Journalists at Risk.” Two days before she was to speak at the conference, Guerin was shot and killed while stopped at a traffic light by two men on a motorcycle, causing national outrage in Ireland. The investigation into her death identified the killers as members of Gilligan’s drug organization. Labour unions across Ireland called for a moment of silence in her memory, and Taoiseach (Ireland’s head of state) John Bruton attended her funeral. Within a week of her murder, the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) enacted the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 and the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996, so that assets purchased with money obtained through crime could be seized by the government.
- July 5, 1968 – Susan Wojcicki born, Polish-American technology executive; CEO of You Tube (2014-2023); Google’s first marketing manager in 1999, then Senior VP of Advertising & Commerce. A mother of five, she is an advocate for paid maternity and family leave.
- July 5, 1969 – Jenji Kohan born, American television writer and producer; creator of Weeds (2005-2012), and Orange Is the New Black (2013-2019).
- July 5, 2000 – President Clinton signs two protocols of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: one to prevent involvement of children in armed conflict as combatants, and another against the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography.
- July 5, 2018 – The President of Poland's Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, appointed in 2014 to a six-year term, showed up for work, refusing to accept a controversial new law effectively purging 27 of the court's 72 judges. "My presence here is not about politics; I am here to defend the rule of law and to testify to the truth about the line between the constitution and the violation of the constitution," Gersdorf, holding white roses at the court building's entrance, said to protesters gathered out front. Gersdorf and other judges aged 65 or older were forced to retire under the new law. Previously, the retirement age was 70. The measure took full effect July 4, in an ongoing effort by Poland's ruling right-wing Law and Justice party to exert control over the courts. It provoked mass street protests and escalated tensions between Poland's government and the European Union over the rule of law.
- July 5, 2020 – Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said protesters should "clear out" of an area near the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police in June, after Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old African-American girl, was fatally shot nearby. "Enough is enough," Bottoms said at a news conference. Secoriea was riding with her mother in a car driven by a friend who tried to pull into a parking lot barricaded during protests against racial injustice. A group of armed people confronted the driver and someone opened fire. "We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks," the girl's mother, Charmaine Turner, said. "My baby didn't mean no harm." "They say Black lives matter," the girl's father, Secoriya Williamson, said. "You killed your own."
- July 5, 2020 – Found in a shallow grave near Fort Hood in Texas, the remains were identified as Spc. Vanessa Guillen, age 20, members of her family told The Washington Post. Guillen, missing since April 22, is believed to have been bludgeoned to death near where she was last seen that day. Guillen's car, wallet, and keys were found on the base, but her cell phone was missing. A search for suspects ended when Spc. Aaron Robinson killed himself as officers closed in. Robinson's girlfriend was accused of helping him dispose of the body. Guillen's family said Vanessa was being sexually harassed, including a superior walking in on her in the shower, and another verbally assaulting Vanessa with vulgar remarks, but she told her parents she didn't want to report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation. Her family accused the Army of not making the search for Guillen a high enough priority. "Her leadership failed her," family attorney Natalie Khawam said. "The Army failed her."
- July 5, 2021 – Irish DJ Annie Mac (Annie MacManus) had announced that she would leave BBC Radio One after 17 years. In a Radio Times interview, Mac said during her career she welcomed seismic shifts in music and broadcasting, particularly increasing numbers of women occupying prime time slots. Mac was grateful that her ‘Future Sounds’ replacement, BBC broadcaster Clara Amfo, was another woman, but it illustrated for her how much was still to be done for women in the industry. “I feel annoyed being grateful that we have a female breakfast show presenter on Radio 2 or 6 Music,” said Mac, 42. “We shouldn’t be grateful. It should be a given, not an anomaly ... But I’m very encouraged at Radio 1 with the commitment they have to women. Clara getting the show that I’m leaving is the most sensible and inspired choice. It’s great, but there’s still a long way to go.” In 2014 Mac wrote an article for Vice entitled “Stop asking me questions about being a woman,” calling out the heavily gendered questions she was asked in interviews compared with male DJs. She said she was often asked if she was just trying to “support women” by recommending female artists. She responded: “Believe it or not, it is possible to talk about two female artists without being tokenistic. There are countless female artists and female DJs who are quietly achieving all their dreams without using their gender as a tool … ” A long-time outspoken critic of sexism and gender imbalance in the music industry, She has addressed issues from lack of female artists in festival line-ups to the “moral conundrum” of playing misogynistic rap on air. While she will spend more time on writing, she’ll also continue her successful podcast series, Changes with Annie MacManus.
- July 6, 1387 – Blanche I born, of the House of Évreux in Navarre, Queen consort (1402-1409) of Sicily (1402-1415), and served as regent during her husband’s absence (1404-1405), then as Queen in her own right (1410-1415) after the death of his successor, during years of unsettled succession, until Ferdinand I of Aragon was victorious, and Sicily was annexed to Aragon. She then returned to Navarre, was sworn in as heir to the throne, and given allegiance by the lords. She was Queen regnant of Navarre from her father’s death in 1425 until her own death in 1441.
July 6, 1701 – Lady Mary Tufton, daughter of the 6th Earl of Thanet, a notable philanthropist, was named as his executrix and administrator of the trust he established to provide for charities, including a school for poor children. Her first husband, Anthony Grey, Earl of Harold, died just five years after their marriage in 1718. In 1730, she signed the ‘Ladies’ Petition for the Establishment of the Foundling Hospital’ to King George II, to establish a safe haven for abandoned babies and children. She married again, to the 1st Earl of Gower, in 1736. Mary financially supported and paid for repairs to almshouses in Vauxhall for poor widows, as well as a school for poor children in Brighton. One hundred and forty years after her death, these charities were still known as 'the Countess of Gower's Charity'. Mary also provided additional income for clergy livings at several churches in Lancashire and Cumbria, and was called "that great friend of poor livings." She lived to the age of 83.
July 6, 1799 – Louisa Caroline Huggins Tuthill born, American author; after her husband died in 1825, leaving her a 29-year-old widow with four children, she contributed anonymously to literary periodicals. In 1839, under her own name, she was a contributor-editor of a collection entitled The Young Ladies’ Reader, so popular it went through several editions. She followed this success with The Young Lady’s Home, also frequently reprinted. Her series of books for girls between 1844 and 1850 were also successful, but her most enduring work is History of Architecture from the Earliest Times (1848), the first history of architecture published in the U.S.
July 6, 1803 – Sophia Willard Dana Ripley born, Transcendentalist, co-founder with her husband George of New Brook Farm; as an educator she employed child-centered methods of teaching.
July 6, 1823 – Sophie Adlersparre born, a pioneer in the 19th century Swedish women’s rights movement. Founder and editor of the first women’s magazine in Scandinavia, Tidskrift för hemmet (Home Review), 1859-1885; co-founder of Handarbetets vänner (Friends of Handicraft), 1874-1887; editor-in-chief of the magazine Dagne (1886-1888), and founder of the Fredrika-Bremer-förbundet (Fredrika Bremer Association) in 1884. She also used the pen-name Esselde. Adlersparre one of the first two women members of a state committee in Sweden, as a member of the Flickskolekommittén (Girls School Committee) in 1885. Swedish women gained partial suffrage, able to vote in municipal elections, in 1862, so she concentrated on making women financially independent through access to education and professions. She wrote: “Women need work, and work needs women.” In 1862, she organized evening classes for women, and in 1863, established a secretarial bureau which expanded into an employment agency. In 1864, she petitioned the Swedish parliament to allow women to study at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. At the time, the Academy only allowed a few women students, under a special dispensation. Adlersparre’s petition led to women studying at the Academy on the same terms as men. In 1866, she co-founded the Stockholms läsesalong (Stockholm Reading Parlor), a free library for women. She worked on successful campaigns for legislation passed between 1870 and 1874, gaining more access to education, and state support for secondary schools for girls.
July 6, 1840 – German playwright Christian Friedrich Hebbel, ungrateful to the women who supported him, made his reputation as a playwright with Judith, a reinterpretation of the biblical story to reflect the 19th century view of a “woman’s place,” turning Judith into a vengeful femme fatale who beheads Holofernes because he rapes her after her allure “drives him mad.” Hebbel, born poor, was only able to attend the University of Hamburg because of the patronage of Amailie Schoppe, a popular writer of the day. In 1846, he broke off his long-time relationship with Elise Lensing, and married instead the wealthy and beautiful actress Christine Enghaus, claiming, “a man's first duty is to the most powerful force within him, that which alone can give him happiness and be of service to the world."
July 6, 1845 – Ángela Peralta born, Mexican operatic soprano and composer. After touring Europe and the U.S., she formed her own opera company in Mexico City and acted as impresario. Though best known for her bel canto singing, Peralta adopted a more dramatic style in the title role of Verdi's Aida, her company's first Mexican production. She also composed popular songs. Peralta contracted yellow fever in Mazatlán while on tour, and died at age 38.
July 6, 1887 – Annette Kellerman born, Australian professional swimmer, one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing suit, inspiring others to follow her example. She declared, “I can’t swim wearing more stuff than you hang on a clothesline.”
July 6, 1899 – Susannah Mushatt Jones born, African American daughter of sharecroppers, graduated in 1923 from the Calhoun Boarding High School. Accepted to the Tuskegee Institute’s Teacher’s Program, but unable to pay the tuition, she moved to New York City, taking care of children of wealthy families for $7 a week. She helped members of her family get started when they came to New York after she did, and also set aside some of her earnings to establish the Calhoun Club, a college scholarship fund for Black students at her old high school. At age 116, she became the world’s oldest living person, and the last living American born in the 19th century. She died at age 116 years, 311 days.
July 6, 1900 – Frederica Sagor Maas born, youngest daughter of Russian immigrants; American screenwriter, memoirist, and author. Starting as a story editor at Universal Pictures’ New York office in 1918, she was head of the department by 1923. In 1924, she moved to Hollywood, and worked for MGM writing scripts, usually with other writers, but her co-authors often took credit for her work, and her contract was not renewed. After that, she and her husband Ernest Maas sometimes worked together, pitching scripts to Fox and Paramount, with hit-or-miss success. After they lost most of their money in the 1929 stock market crash, they returned to New York, but came back to Hollywood, where they changed careers. She became an insurance broker, and he was a story editor and ghost writer until he died in 1986. Urged by film historian Kevin Brownlow, she published her autobiography, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early Hollywood, at age 99, then lived to be 111.
July 6, 1907 – Frida Kahlo born, Mexican surrealist painter, known for her self-portraits, but also painted works inspired by artifacts considered emblematic of national and indigenous tradition.
July 6, 1912 – Molly Yard born in China to Methodist missionaries, American feminist and social activist; after graduating from Swarthmore College, she worked on Helen Gahagan Douglas’ campaign for the U.S. Senate against Richard Nixon, who won by savaging Gahagan Douglas as a commie pinko, then she later led the Western Pennsylvania presidential campaigns for John F. Kennedy and George McGovern. She co-founded Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1974, and was on its national staff by 1978, lobbying and fundraising for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratification campaign in Washington. She was a senior staff member on the NOW Political Action Committee (1978-1984), then NOW’s political director (1985-1987), defeating anti-choice referendums in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Oregon. Yard became NOW president (1987- 1991), and was a banner-carrier for the March for Women’s Lives in 1989, which drew 600,000 marchers to Washington. She was honored with the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
July 6, 1926 – Dorothy E. Smith born, Canadian sociologist, whose work covers women’s studies and feminist theory, family relationships, education and methodology. She developed institutional ethnology, study of social relations of actual people in everyday life (she described it as a “sociology for, not of the people”), and contributed to the standpoint theory, that hierarchies create ignorance at the top about social problems which those at the bottom understand from direct experience. Her research questioned the methods and theories of sociology up the 1970s, which she found were based on the male-dominated social structure, and overlooked women and minorities.
July 6, 1927 – Janet Leigh born as Jeanette Helen Morrison, American actress and author; her Hollywood career spanned five decades. She made her film debut at age 20, after doing radio programs. Remembered for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but she also appeared in Little Women (1949 version), Scaramouche, Touch of Evil, and The Manchurian Candidate. She served on the board of directors of the Motion Picture and Television Foundation, a medical services provider for actors. Leigh wrote two novels House of Destiny, and The Dream Factory, and There Really Was a Hollywood, a memoir of her acting years. She died at age 77 in 2004, after a battle with vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels.
July 6, 1929 – Hélène Carrère d’Encausse born, French political historian of Georgian ancestry, specializing in Russian history; elected to seat 14 of the Académie française in 1990, and as the Académie’s Perpetual Secretary in 1999; member of the European Parliament (1994-1999) for the right wing Conservative party RPR. Awarded the Polish Lomonosov Gold Medal in 2008, and the Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2011.
July 6, 1937 – Bessie Emery Head, novelist and short story writer born in South Africa to a wealthy white South African woman and a black servant when interracial relationships were illegal; her mother’s family claimed their daughter was mentally ill, and sent her away to give birth without the neighbors knowing. After her mother killed herself, she was raised by foster parents and later in a mission orphanage. Qualifying as a teacher, she taught briefly, then became a journalist for The Golden City Post and Drum magazine (1958-1959). She joined the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1960, and married Harold Head in 1961. In 1964, she left South Africa with her son, seeking asylum in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana). After 15 years, she became a Botswana citizen. Her novels include When Rains Cloud Gather, Maru, and A Question of Power. She died from hepatitis at age 48, just as she was starting to be recognized as a writer.
July 6, 1942 – Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
July 6, 1951 – Lorna Golding born; Jamaican businesswoman and National Labour Party member. After attending the New York Business Institute, she worked at the office of British and Africa Affairs, and the United Kingdom and Supply delegation, a subsidiary of the British Consulate. She later worked for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) and with the Sierra Leone Mission to the United Nations. When her husband, Bruce Golding became Prime Minister of Jamaica, she became Jamaica’s First Lady (2007-2011).
July 6, 1952 – Dame Hilary Mantel born, English author of historical fiction, short stories, and memoirs. She won the Booker Prize in 2009 for her novel Wolf Hall, and again in 2012 for Bring Up the Bodies, the first woman to win the Booker Prize twice. Her 1983 short story, “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: 6 August 1983,” was controversial, and allies of Thatcher called for a police investigation, to which Mantel responded that her fictional murder “bringing in the police for an investigation was beyond anything I could have planned or hoped for, because it immediately exposes them to ridicule.”
July 6, 1957 – Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to win a Wimbledon title in women’s tennis singles.
July 6, 1960 – Maria Wasiak born, Polish politician and civil servant; founding member of the Democratic Union, then shifted to the Freedom Union party (1995-1997); President of Polskie Koleje Państwowe (PKP – the Polish State Railways – 2011-2012); Minister of Infrastructure and Development of Poland (2014-2015).
July 6, 1970 – California passes the first U.S. “no fault” divorce law.
July 6, 1976 – Ioana Dumitriu born in Romania, Romanian-American mathematician and academic; her work includes the theory of random matrices, numerical analysis, scientific computing, and game theory. The first woman to become a Putnam Fellow, after making one of the top five scores at the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. She won the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Award as the top woman in the contest in three successive years – 1995, 1996, and 1997 – a record she alone held for the next ten years, until it was equaled by Alison Miller. In 2012, she was an inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
July 6, 1983 – U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, rules in Arizona Governing Comm. v. Norris that longer lives of women as a group compared with men as a group does not permit insurance companies, as part of employer-sponsored retirement plans, to pay lower monthly annuity benefits to women.
July 6, 2014 – The California Highway Patrol promised a thorough investigation of the videotaped beating of a 51-year-old black woman by a uniformed officer beside a Los Angeles freeway. A CHP spokesman said the officer was trying to restrain the woman after she reportedly walked onto Interstate 10. Family members said Marlene Pinnock suffered multiple injuries and her civil rights were violated in the incident, which was captured on cell phone video by a passing driver. The video shows Pinnock struggling to get up as the officer punches her repeatedly in the face until an off-duty officer arrives and helps him handcuff her. The officer involved was temporarily placed on leave. Her family announced plans to sue. According to a District Attorney’s Office charge-evaluation worksheet, prosecutors decided there was “insufficient evidence” to prove that the officer used unreasonable force, and the office declined to file charges. The officer resigned from the department when the CHP reached a $1.5 million settlement with Marlene Pinnock. Pinnock’s attorney, Caree Harper, said that District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s decision not to file charges was “a cowardly, disgusting decision by a district attorney who has shown no regard for a community of people who have been beaten by bad officers,” Harper told City News Service. “She should be removed ASAP, and an independent counsel should be appointed to investigate whenever there is a police beating of a citizen.” Lacey was voted out of office in 2020.
July 6, 2020 – Publisher Simon & Schuster announced it would release Mary Trump’s tell-all book about her uncle two weeks ahead of schedule due to “extraordinary interest in this book." Donald Trump's younger brother, Robert, tried but failed to block the book's publication. Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man portrays Donald Trump as a "damaged man" who "threatens the world's health, economic security, and social fabric," Simon & Schuster said on its website. The book became the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon.
July 6, 2021 – Dr. Meena Seshamani was named by the Biden administration as Director of the Center for Medicare, which oversees health benefits for tens of millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and dialysis patients. She was vice president of clinical care transformation at MedStar Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system, and was director of the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Seshamani is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D. in health economics.
- July 7, 1528 – Anna of Austria born, member of the Imperial House of Habsburg; Duchess consort of Bavaria after her husband became Albert V, Duke of Bavaria in 1550. A notable patron of both painters and musicians, she helped to found several museums in Munich, and with her husband laid the foundations of the Bavarian State Library in 1558, now considered one of the best research libraries in the world. She gave birth to seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood. She died in 1590 at age 62.
- July 7, 1831 – Jane Elizabeth Conklin born, American poet, religious writer, and elocutionist; early president of the Women’s Relief Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic, a women’s auxiliary group devoted to perpetuating remembrance of the Civil War service of the Grand Army of the Republic, and honoring the GAR fallen.
- July 7, 1851 – Lillien J. Martin born, American psychologist, and author of Salvaging Old Age, Sweeping the Cobwebs, and Mental Hygiene; graduated from Vassar in 1880; the University of Bonn refused her, a woman, admission, so she studied at the University of Göttingen (1894-1898). Martin taught psychology at Stanford University (1899-1916). In 1913, the University of Bonn awarded her an honorary doctorate. After she left Stanford, Martin became a consulting psychologist and psychopathologist in San Francisco, and headed the world’s first mental health clinic specifically for elderly people and non-handicapped children.
- July 7, 1852 – Vera Nikolayevna Figner born, Russian revolutionary, doctor’s assistant; participant in an assassination plot against Alexander II, sentenced to death, but her sentence was commuted to Siberian penal servitude; wrote Memories of a Revolutionist.
- July 7, 1861 – Nettie Stevens born, early American geneticist; described the XY chromosome system in 1905, correcting and adding to findings by Edmund Beecher Wilson, showing the significance of Y chromosomes in sex determination. After he made further experiments which confirmed her results, Wilson updated and reissued his earlier 1905 paper, with the new information, and acknowledging her discoveries, but many textbooks only credited Wilson and Thomas Hunt Morgan (her graduate course instructor, who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to chromosome research) with her discoveries. Wilson and Morgan were invited to speak at a conference to present their theories in 1906, but Stevens was not. She published about 40 papers before she died of breast cancer at age 50 in 1912. Thomas Hunt Morgan wrote an extensive obituary for the journal Science, “Her single-mindedness and devotion, combined with keen powers of observation; her thoughtfulness and patience, united to a well-balanced judgment, account, in part, for her remarkable accomplishment.”
- July 7, 1865 – Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, is hanged, the first woman executed under U.S. law.
- July 7, 1867 – Charlotte Anita Whitney born, American social worker, Communist Labor Party organizer, pacifist and suffragist; defendant in the Supreme Court case Whitney v. California, charged with being a member of an organization made illegal under California’s 1919 Criminal Syndicalism Act because of its association with the international Communist movement – noted for the opinion by Justice Louis Brandeis, which, though it concurred with the decision, declared only a "clear and present danger" was sufficient for legislative restriction of the right of free speech: “Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that, in its government, the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end, and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that, without free speech and assembly, discussion would be futile; that, with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government …” The Governor of California later pardoned Whitney, and the Supreme Court explicitly overruled Whitney v. California in the Brandenburg v. Ohio ruling in 1969.
- July 7, 1869 – Rachel Caroline Eaton born in Flint Creek, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; one of the first Native American women to earn a Ph.D. – from the University of Chicago – after attending tribal schools, Cherokee Female Seminary, and Drury College in Missouri. Her dissertation, “John Ross and the Cherokee Indians,” was published in 1921 as a Cherokee history book. She taught in Cherokee Nation public schools, at Lake Erie College in Ohio, and the Industrial Institute and College in Mississippi. Eaton was Dean of Women at Trinity University in Texas, and served as Superintendent of Public Instruction of Rogers County Oklahoma (1920-1922). She died in 1938 from breast cancer at age 69.
- July 7, 1889 – Constance Nothard born, South African nursing sister who served with distinction in the South African Military Service during WWI; awarded the Croix de Recompense for her service in France. In 1961, Nothard received the first Gold Medal of the South African Nursing Association in recognition of distinguished and exceptional service in times of war and peace, and was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal by the International Red Cross. The Library at the South African Nursing Association headquarters in Pretoria is named the C.A. Nothard Library.
- July 7, 1904 – Simone “Simca” Beck born, French cooking instructor and cookbook author who collaborated with Julia Child on Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
- July 7, 1905 – Marie-Louise Dubreil-Jacotin born, French mathematician; first French woman to become a full professor of mathematics; expert in fluid dynamics and abstract algebra; author of textbooks on lattice theory and abstract algebra, and a history, Portraits of women mathematicians.
- July 7, 1915 – Margaret Walker born, African American novelist and poet, during the Chicago Black Renaissance; her For My People won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, the first black woman to win a U.S. national literary prize; also noted her novel Jubilee.
- July 7, 1924 – Natalia Bekhtereva born, Russian neuroscientist and psychologist; founding director of the Institute for Human Brain, a branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, did studies measuring the impulse activity of human neurons.
- July 7, 1929 – Helen Rodríguez Trías born, pediatrician, educator, Puerto Rican nationalist, and women’s rights activist; joined the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party student faction at the University of Puerto Rico (BA 1957, Medical Degree 1960). During her residency at University Hospital in San Juan, she started the first newborn care center in Puerto Rico – the newborn death rate decreased 50% within the first three years. She was the first Hispanic president of the American Public Health Association. In the mid-1960s, when 65% of sterilization procedures in U.S. hospitals were performed on women of color, who were less than 7% of the overall population, she co-founded the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA), later renamed the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA). A founding member of the Women’s Caucus of the American Public Health Association, she was honored with the Presidential Citizen’s Medal. Her work helped expand public health services for women and children in minority and low-income populations around the world.
- July 7, 1942 – Heinrich Himmler, meeting privately with Richard Glücks, SS chief of Concentration Camps Inspectorate, and Gynecologist Karl Clauberg, outlines a program of experimentation on Jewish women prisoners at Auschwitz to sterilize them with massive radiation or direct uterine injections.
- July 7, 1943 – Sharon Lane born, American nurse, the only U.S. woman killed by hostile fire during the Vietnam War.
- July 7, 1944 – Glenys Kinnock born, Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead, British teacher, Labour politician and human rights advocate; Lord Temporal Member of the House of Lords since 2009; Minister of State for Africa and the United Nations (2009-2010); Minister of State for Europe (2009); Member of the European Parliament for Wales (1999-2009); Member of the European Parliament for South Wales East (1994-1999). Patron and/or board member of a number of charitable organizations, including Womankind Worldwide, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Freedom from Torture, and Snap Cymru, a Welsh children’s charity. Kinnock is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
- July 7, 1945 – Adele Goldberg born, American computer scientist, a member of the team that developed the programming language Smalltalk-80; also a developer of various object-oriented programming concepts and graphically-based user interfaces; president of the Association for Computing Machinery (1984-1986), and co-recipient of the 1987 ACM Software Systems Award.
- July 7, 1948 – Kay Langdon, Wilma Marchal, Edna Young, Frances Devaney, Doris Robertson, and Ruth Flora became the first six enlisted women sworn into the regular U.S. Navy, after the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act became law in June. Prior the act, U.S. women could only serve in the armed forces during times of war.
- July 7, 1949 – Shelley Duvall born, American actress, writer, and producer; produced and starred in Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre (1982-1987); supporter of animal welfare.
- July 7, 1958 – Michala Petri born, Danish recorder virtuoso; began playing recorder at age three, and made her solo debut in 1969. In 2000, received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Denmark’s highest musical honor.
- July 7, 1965 – Mo Collins born as Maureen Collins, American comedian and voice actress; appeared on Mad TV (1998-2004). She was diagnosed in 2011 with gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a rare form of cancer, currently in remission. She relates her story to raise awareness of the disease.
- July 7, 1972 – Susan Lynn Roley and Joanne E. Pierce, the first two female FBI special agents, are sworn in. (The first woman agent was Emma Hotchkiss Jentzer, hired by the FBI’s predecessor, the Bureau of Investigation, in 1911.) When J. Edgar Hoover became director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, he got rid of the existing women agents, and banned hiring women agents. He was the first and longest-serving director of the FBI (1935-1972).
- July 7, 1976 – The first women cadets are enrolled at West Point.
- July 7, 1980 – Sharia Law is instituted in Iran; women judges were removed first, but by early 1982, the entire pre-Revolutionary judiciary had been purged, their duties replaced by “Revolutionary Tribunals” set up in every town, overseen by inexperienced and often incompetent judges, with no appeals. In 1982, a more regular court system was instated, with all male judges trained in Islamic law, while Revolutionary Tribunals handled “national security” cases and “anti-revolutionary” crimes. In 1978, 22 women were members of Iran’s parliament and 333 women served on local councils, but all women were purged from government positions, and advances in women’s rights in divorce and child custody were scrapped. The marriage age for girls was reduced from 18 to ‘puberty’ – age 9 under Islamic law. In 1981, parliament approved the Islamic Law of Retribution, legalizing flogging, stoning, and payment of blood money for crimes ranging from adultery to violation of Islamic dress codes. As of 2021, the legal age for marriage of girls is 13, but fathers can obtain judicial permission for daughters to be married at a younger age. The marriage rate in Iran for both sexes had declined since 2012, but increased 5% in 2022.
- July 7, 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor nominated as the first woman on U.S. Supreme Court.
- July 7, 1983 – Samantha Smith, 11-year-old American, flies to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Secretary General Yuri Andropov after she writes a letter to him. She became a Goodwill Ambassador for peace. In 1985, she was killed in a plane crash.
- July 7, 1986 – Anahit “Ana” Kasparian born, American political pundit, university lecturer, and author; Raw Story columnist; co-host and a producer of the news show The Young Turks; outspoken critic of private and for-profit prisons; advocate for campaign finance reform, affordable housing, public education, and free speech.
- July 7, 1992 – New York Court of Appeals overturns a conviction of two women for exposing their breasts in public; the court rules women have the same right as men to go topless in public.
- July 7, 2015 – A study by the Women Donors Network, a networking group for women’s advocacy fundraisers, found that 95% of state and local prosecutors are white, and 79% of them are men. "They have to see someone that looks like them," the president of the National Black Prosecutors Association, Melba V. Pearson, referring to the long-held mistrust by minority groups of the legal system: "When you walk into a courtroom and no one looks like you, do you think you are going to get a fair shake?"
- July 7, 2019 – Vera Baird, QC, the UK’s new Victims’ Commissioner, says the Crown Prosecution Service and police are requesting far too much – and often irrelevant – personal information in controversial “digital consent forms” that they give to victims who report rapes. Complainants are not being “unreasonable” if they resist intrusive demands that breach their privacy, the former Labour MP and solicitor general said. The police have threatened to drop investigations if complainants do not cooperate with such requests. The criminal justice system is struggling to cope with the volume of evidence generated by mobile phones and digital technology. There has been a 173% rise since 2015 in the number of rapes reported to police in England and Wales, yet the number of cases going to court has fallen by 44%. Baird said: “Practice both before and since this form was published has been to demand this material and abandon cases if there is hesitation. This is so even where the allegation is that the complainant was raped by a stranger and there will be no relevant material.” She said that investigators asked for access to school notes, mental health reports, or counselling records, and the CPS will often come back to the police after receiving a file and say they “want all the digital download.” In one case, a young woman was accused of being a liar during a sexual exploitation trial because lawyers found a letter she wrote when she was a student in which she forged her mother’s signature to get a day off school. What police call an “outcome 16” has rapidly increased: a suspect is identified but the victim does not support further action – which also worries Baird. Any inquiry is an “interactive process”, she said, and it can be easy for police to discourage complainants. Of her new role as victims’ commissioner, Baird said: “It’s totally under-resourced. It’s very challenging. I’m very committed to making things better.” Her office in central London has only few full-time staff members. “We will be asking the government for more powers so that we can report to parliament rather than the Ministry of Justice,” she said. “If we report to the MoJ and they ask how the Victims’ Code is working, they are marking their own homework.”
- July 7, 2020 – In the UK, a government-ordered inquiry found that an arrogant culture in which serious medical complications were dismissed as “women’s problems” contributed to a string of healthcare scandals over several decades. The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2018, initially concerned vaginal mesh operations. The implants were marketed as a less invasive treatment for urinary incontinence and prolapse – conditions commonly linked to childbirth – but a Guardian newspaper article revealed many women were left with traumatic complications after the surgery. The review also focused on Primodos, a hormone pregnancy test commonly taken by women until 1978, associated with damage to children born to mothers who took it, and sodium valproate, an epilepsy treatment known to harm babies if taken during pregnancy. The inquiry revealed a medical establishment failing to acknowledge problems even when faced with mounting safety concerns, leading to avoidable harm to patients. Instead, women’s symtoms were routinely attributed to psychological issues or it being “that time of life”, with “anything and everything women suffer perceived as a natural precursor to, part of, or a post-symptomatic phase of, the menopause … For the women concerned, this was tantamount to a complete denial of their concerns and being written off by a system that was supposed to care,” the review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, concluded. “Much of this suffering was entirely avoidable, caused and compounded by failings in the health system itself,” she said. “We couldn’t believe that people had gone through so much agony and suffering and had been ignored. We did believe them.” She added, “As women, we know when things are not right with our bodies. We are the first to know. When that information is ignored, it is simply belittling and adds to the suffering.” There was also a systemic failure to collect data on patient outcomes. The inquiry couldn’t establish rates of mesh complications or how many women had taken sodium valproate while pregnant. The report made wide-ranging recommendations, including appointment of an independent patient safety commissioner, overhaul of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and expansion of the General Medical Council register to include a list of financial interests for all doctors. It also recommended establishment of a central medical device database and a registry of all women of child-bearing age taking sodium valproate. An Epilepsy Society recent survey found one in 10 women currently taking the drug unaware of its birth defects risk. The report stopped short of recommending banning use of the pelvic mesh, but said such surgery should take place within specialist centres, and only in rare circumstances, after other conservative treatments had been tried. Kath Sansom, founder of the Sling the Mesh campaign in 2015, welcomed the recommendations, saying: “The report is hard-hitting, harrowing and recognises the total failure in patient safety, regulation and oversight in the UK. It also makes it very clear that our medical establishment is deeply entrenched in institutional denial and misogyny.”
- July 7, 2021 – An interim report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) warned women and girls are being subjected to an “epidemic of violence” requiring a “radical and bold” shift in how authorities in England and Wales tackle crimes that disproportionately affect female victims. The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse in the 12 months to March 2020, and of 153,136 rape and other sexual offences recorded by police, the victim was female in 84% of cases. “Offending against women and girls is deep-rooted and pervasive in our society. Urgent action is needed to uproot and address this and police cannot solve this alone. There must be a seamless approach to preventing and tackling violence against women and girls across the whole system, including education, local authorities, health, social care, and those from across the criminal justice system – with all agencies working together.” The inspectorate’s recommendations called for an “immediate and unequivocal commitment” to make response to violence against women and girls an “absolute priority” for government, policing, the criminal justice system, and public sector partnerships – and backed up by funding.
- July 8, 1593 – Artemisia Gentileschi born, Italian painter, one of the most accomplished painters of her generation, noted for painting strong or suffering women from myth; the first woman member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.
- July 8, 1821 – Maria White Lowell, American poet and abolitionist, advocate for temperance and women’s rights. Lowell was under a strict ascetic discipline at an Ursuline convent, until it was burned down during the Ursuline Convent Riots in 1834 during a wave of anti-Catholicism in New England. In 1839, she attended the first “conversation” organized by women’s rights activist Margaret Fuller, the same year her brother introduced her to his Harvard classmate, James Russell Lowell. They became engaged in 1840, but her father insisted that Lowell be gainfully employed before they were married. She and her mother spent the winter of 1843-1844 in Philadelphia, hoping its milder winter would heal her lungs, already in the early stages of tuberculosis. She first encountered Quakers there, and her growing friendship with congregation members led to her more active opposition to slavery. After her marriage to Lowell in 1844, she joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, and persuaded her husband to use his writing to further the anti-slavery cause. They moved to Philadelphia, where he was an editor on Pennsylvania’s Freeman, an antislavery weekly, but moved back to Massachusetts in 1845. Of her four children, born between 1845 and 1850, only her fourth child Mabel survived to adulthood, the others dying as infants. Maria White Lowell died in 1853, at the age of 32. Her husband privately printed her poems two years after her death.
- July 8, 1862 – Ella Reeve “Mother” Bloor born, American labor organizer, communist, and major figure in the socialist feminist movement. Bloor worked as a trade union organizer and activist during industrial disputes in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, and New York. She organized strikes across a wide range of industries including miners, hatters, steelworkers, and needle-workers. In 1905, Bloor helped Upton Sinclair gather information on the Chicago stock yards. Her investigative reporting, as “Mr. Richard Bloor,” eventually appeared in Sinclair’s best-selling book, The Jungle.
- July 8, 1867 – Käthe Kollwitz born, German painter, printmaker, and sculptor; known for depicting the tragedy of war, poverty, and hunger.
- July 8, 1899 – Audrey Richards born, English social anthropologist, and field researcher who studied East African peoples, especially the Bemba, in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Uganda, and the South African Transvaal. Richards’ detailed studies included social psychology, food and nutrition, agriculture, land use, economic organization, and how long ordinary tasks took to complete, from fence-building to food gathering and preparation, and the length of work days in different seasons.
- July 8, 1902 – Gwendolyn Bennett born, Harlem Renaissance author and artist; wrote “The Ebony Flute” column for the journal Opportunity; co-founded Fire!! a literary journal.
- July 8, 1911 – “Two Gun” Nan Aspinwall, rodeo cowgirl, arrived in New York City with her horse Lady Ellen, after riding across the U.S. on horseback, departing from San Francisco CA on September 1, 1910.
- July 8, 1916 – Jean Rouverol born, American author, actress, and screenwriter; blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s. She played supporting roles in Hollywood movies in the 1930s, but after her marriage to screenwriter Hugo Butler, she acted in radio series like One Man’s Family in the 1940s. While her husband served overseas during WWII, she wrote her first novella, sold to McCall’s magazine in 1945. In 1950, her first screenplay was made into a film, but in 1951, she and her husband were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee because they were former members of the Communist Party. The Rouverols, with their four children, went into self-exile in Mexico rather than face a prison sentence. They didn’t return to the U.S. until 1964, but they co-authored screenplays, sold under names of friends from the Writers Guild of America, and she continued to write short stories and articles for magazines under pen names. After returning to California, she wrote a book on Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her husband died in 1968, and she wrote three more books, and scripts for soap operas like Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, and As the World Turns. At age 84 in 2000, she published Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years. Rouverol lived to age 100.
- July 8, 1918 – Julie Pirie born, British spy for MI5, who infiltrated the Communist Party in the 1950s, initially as a typist, but worked her way into the inner circles, working directly for party undersecretary John Gollan. She was never found out, and retired from the party in 1978, with a pension which the Party paid until her death in 2008. Her next assignment for MI5 was to collect information on the Provisional IRA’s activities, often posing as a tourist. She finally left active operations in the 1990s, but lectured to groups of MI5 and police trainees.
- July 8, 1926 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross born in Switzerland, Swiss-American psychiatrist, author, and leading authority on the psychology of dying. She developed the theory of the five mental-emotional stages of terminal illness and grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Best known for her book On Death and Dying. Kübler-Ross was inducted into the American National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
- July 8, 1934 – Raquel Correa, Chilean journalist for newspaper El Mercurio de Santiago; awarded Chile’s National Journalism Award in 1991.
- July 8, 1945 – Micheline Calmy-Rey born, Swiss Social Democratic politician; President of Switzerland (2007 and 2011); Vice President of Switzerland (2006 and 2010); Member of the Swiss Federal Council (2003-2011).
- July 8, 1947 – Jenny Diski born, English writer and contributor to the London Review of Books; won the 2003 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for Stranger on a Train: Daydreaming and Smoking around America With Interruptions. Her memoir, Skating to Antarctica, appeared in 1997. In Gratitude, about her mentor Doris Lessing, and other literary figures who inspired her, was published in 2016, just before her death from cancer.
- July 8, 1948 – The Women’s Armed Service Integration Act allows women to serve when the nation is not at war. Esther Blake became the first woman recruiting into the U.S. Air Force W.A.F program, and Vietta M. Bates was the first enlisted woman sworn into the regular U.S. Army. The U.S. Navy also accepted its first peace-time female recruits (see entry for July 7, 1948).
- July 8, 1948 – Ruby Sales born, African American social activist; at age 17, she marched from Selma to Montgomery, became part of the voter registration drive, and was arrested with others for picketing a whites-only store that was ignoring the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After her release, she went with friends to buy sodas at a nearby store, where she was confronted by a special county deputy with a shot gun. Fellow marcher and activist Jonathan Daniels, a white Episcopalian studying for the priesthood, pushed her out of the way, and was shot to death in her place. Sales was so traumatized by his murder she could barely speak for seven months, but in spite of death threats made against her and her family, she testified at the trial. The deputy was acquitted by an all-white-male jury, resulting in legal challenges and a reform of jury selection procedures. She went to the same divinity school that Jonathan Daniels had attended, then worked as a human rights advocate in Washington DC. Sales founded the SpiritHouse Project, a non-profit inner-city mission dedicated to Daniels’ memory.
- July 8, 1951 – Anjelica Huston born, American actress, director, producer, and author; won the 1985 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Prizzi’s Honor. She made her directorial debut with the 1996 film Bastard out of Carolina, then directed and starred in Agnes Browne in 1999. Her memoirs are A Story Lately Told and Watch Me. Huston led a 2007 letter writing effort for U.S. Campaign for Burma and Human Rights Center, and recorded a PSA for PETA, urging her Hollywood colleagues not to use great apes in television, movies, or advertisements.
- July 8, 1952 – Marianne Williamson born, teacher, author, and lecturer on the intersection between spirituality and politics; founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on wheels program serving homebound people with AIDS; and co-founded the Peace Alliance, a grassroots campaign supporting legislation to establish a U.S Department of Peace; member of the Board of RESULTS, a non-profit working to end poverty. Her books included A Woman’s Worth and Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment. Williamson, a candidate for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, has now declared as a Democratic candidate for 2024.
- July 8, 1958 – Tzipi Livni born, Israeli politician, diplomat, and lawyer; represented five different factions during her time (1999-2019) in the Knesset (Israeli legislature). She also served as Foreign Minister (2006-2009). Known as a leading advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- July 8, 1976 – Dame Ellen MacArthur born, English solo long distance sailor; broke the work record for fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005; retired from professional sailing in 2010. She launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit for creating a circular economy, to minimize waste and increase recycling, repair, and repurposing, and creating a sustainable economy with the least impact on the environment.
- July 8, 1981 – U.S. Senate confirms Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman justice on the Supreme Court; the vote is 99-0.
- July 8, 1982 – Sophia Bush born, American actress and activist, fundraising for Fuck Cancer, Run for the Gulf, and Global Green Gulf Relief; campaigned for Barak Obama and other Democrats in Texas during the 2008 election; supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and protecting the environment; she told stories about the people who were killed in the Orlando Pulse massacre in a 2016 Human Rights Campaign memorial video.
- July 8, 2018 – Delegates to the World Health Assembly, an annual gathering of the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, had expected a resolution to promote breastfeeding to pass easily. But the U.S. delegation tried to water down the resolution, siding with the $70 billion infant formula industry despite decades of research showing breast milk is the healthiest food for infants. When the cajoling failed, the Trump State Department allegedly threatened Ecuador, which was to introduce the resolution, with trade restrictions and withholding U.S. military aid. Ecuador backed down. Russia then introduced the resolution. WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević said "WHO recommends breastmilk as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival."
- July 8, 2019 – Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges following his arrest by Federal agents. Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was arrested at a New Jersey airport, and his Manhattan home was raided an hour later. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, as prosecutors alleged he sexually exploited dozens of girls between the ages of 13 and 16 in his Upper East Side and Palm Beach homes. Prosecutors also said the FBI discovered "nude photographs of what appeared to be underage girls" at Epstein's home. Epstein, 66, served 13 months in a Florida jail under a heavily criticized 2008 plea deal signed by Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, then U.S. attorney in Miami. On August 10, 2019, Epstein, awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges, was found unresponsive in his Metropolitan Correctional Center jail cell, and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The official cause of death was suicide by hanging, but his former lawyers have contested this.
- July 8, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme court ruled 7-2 to uphold a Trump administration rule that allows employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control for their employees if they cite moral or religious objections. The Affordable Care Act mandated employers and insurers provide contraceptives as part of their coverage, but exempted houses of worship. The Trump administration broadened the exception in 2017 to cover all employers with religious or moral objections, but lower courts blocked the changes. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the ruling to let the policy stand. Ginsburg noted that 70,000 to 126,000 women would lose free access to birth control because of the ruling. A previous Supreme Court decision in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case allowed family-owned companies to opt out of providing birth control for moral or religious reasons. Liberal groups and Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, decried the decision, which she called a “fundamental misreading” of the health care law. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the decision would make it “easier for the Trump-Pence Administration to continue to strip health care from women.”
The Feminist Cats Learn
About Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s
Keynote Address at Seneca Falls
July 19, 1848, was the opening day of the Woman’s Rights Convention, which was quickly dubbed the Seneca Falls Convention. It was organized by Jane Hunt, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha Wright, and Mary Ann McClintock. The first day was for women only.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave the keynote address on the 19th of July. She began with a bit of humor:
“We have met here today to discuss our rights and wrongs, civil and political, and not, as some have supposed, to go into the detail of social life alone. We do not propose to petition the legislature to make our husbands just, generous, and courteous, to seat every man at the head of a cradle, and to clothe every woman in male attire.”
She moved on to the purpose of the convention:
” ... But we are assembled to protest against a form of government existing without the consent of the governed – to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support, to have such disgraceful laws as give man the power to chastise and imprison his wife, to take the wages which she earns, the property which she inherits, and, in case of separation, the children of her love; laws which make her the mere dependent on his bounty. It is to protest against such unjust laws as these that we are assembled today, and to have them, if possible, forever erased from our statute books, deeming them a shame and a disgrace to a Christian republic in the nineteenth century. We have met to uplift woman’s fallen divinity upon an even pedestal with man’s.”
Then she dropped the bombshell:
“And, strange as it may seem to many, we now demand our right to vote according to the declaration of the government under which we live.”
“... We do not expect our path will be strewn with the flowers of popular applause, but over the thorns of bigotry and prejudice will be our way, and on our banners will beat the dark storm clouds of opposition from those who have entrenched themselves behind the stormy bulwarks of custom and authority, and who have fortified their position by every means, holy and unholy. But we will steadfastly abide the result. Unmoved we will bear it aloft. Undauntedly we will unfurl it to the gale, for we know that the storm cannot rend from it a shred, that the electric flash will but more clearly show to us the glorious words inscribed upon it, ‘Equality of Rights.’”
How prophetic she was. For proclaiming “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal ...” and especially for asserting a woman’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. But the convention marked the beginning of the woman’s suffrage movement in America, a struggle which continued to 1920, when the 19th Amendment was finally adopted. Yet the fight for universal suffrage and women’s equality continues to this very day.
For those of you who want to dive deeper,
the extended list of this week’s
Women Trailblazers and Events
in Women’s History is here: