Timeline of women's legal rights in the United States (other than voting)

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The following timeline represents formal legal changes and reforms regarding women's rights in the United States except voting rights. It includes actual law reforms as well as other formal changes, such as reforms through new interpretations of laws by precedents.


Before the 19th century


19th century



Circa 1870
In places like Washington D.C., where the federal government had direct jurisdiction, the act also made it a misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment, to sell, give away, or have in possession any "obscene" publication. [28] Half of the states passed similar anti-obscenity statutes that also banned possession and sale of obscene materials, including contraceptives. [29]
The law was named after its chief proponent, Anthony Comstock. Due to his own personal enforcement of the law during its early days, Comstock received a commission from the postmaster general to serve as a special agent for the U.S. Postal Services. [28]



20th century




The law provides (in part) that:
No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section [section 206 of title 29 of the United States Code] shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs[,] the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex [...] [88]



21st century


See also


  1. "Closely held" corporations are defined by the Internal Revenue Service as those which a) have more than 50% of the value of their outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and b) are not personal service corporations. By this definition, approximately 90% of U.S. corporations are "closely held", and approximately 52% of the U.S. workforce is employed by "closely held" corporations. See Blake 2014, Washington Post.

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Timeline of women's legal rights (other than voting) represents formal changes and reforms regarding women's rights. That includes actual law reforms as well as other formal changes, such as reforms through new interpretations of laws by precedents. The right to vote is exempted from the timeline: for that right, see Timeline of women's suffrage. The timeline also excludes ideological changes and events within feminism and antifeminism: for that, see Timeline of feminism.

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Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., No. 18-483, 587 U.S. ___, 139 S.Ct. 1780 (2019), was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of a 2016 anti-abortion law passed in the state of Indiana. Indiana's law sought to ban abortions performed solely on the basis of the fetus' gender, race, ethnicity, or disabilities. Lower courts had blocked enforcement of the law for violating a woman's right to abortion under privacy concerns within the Fourteenth Amendment, as previously found in the landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The lower courts also blocked enforcement of another portion of the law that required the disposal of aborted fetuses through burial or cremation. The per curiam decision by the Supreme Court overturned the injunction on the fetal disposal portion of the law, but otherwise did not challenge or confirm the lower courts' ruling on the non-discrimination clauses, leaving these in place.

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