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July: More Than a Month for Fireworks

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Google images related to July and among the first you’ll see are that of fireworks.

It’s mostly because of the American Independence Day; a date often met with a bang. But it is far from being the only date worth celebrating this month. On the 1st, just above the “land of the free” is an even freer country which recognizes Canada Day. In various parts of the world, people celebrate the Islamic New Year.

There are other significant dates too that are not met with fireworks. Some are barely even celebrated at all. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t significant, however—especially since some of them commemorate events that have a resounding impact felt by women up to this day.

July 2, 1979: US Releases the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin

The release of the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin on July 2, 1979 marked an important moment in history. For the first time, an American coin immortalized an American woman—and an exceptional one at that.

Anthony was a staunch figure in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. She is one of the founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association, along with fellow activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

In 1872, she was arrested for voting illegally. It gathered national attention to the movement and highlighted the injustices faced by women. Anthony also worked for broader social reforms including abolition, labor rights, and education for women.

July 6, 1957: Althea Gibson at Wimbledon

The month of July is an important date in the field of women in athletics.

Althea Gibson made history on July 6, 1957 when she became the first African American woman to win a Wimbledon singles title. Throughout her career, Gibson won five Grand Slam singles tournaments.

Her rise to fame at the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament came at a time when segregation was still rampant in the U.S., limiting the rights of Black people.

This victory was a personal triumph. But it was also a milestone for racial and gender equality in sports that has long been dominated by men. Gibson’s success opened opportunities for female athletes, broke down racial barriers, and challenged stereotypes.

Following her tennis career, Gibson was also noted to be the first Black woman to be a professional golfer.

July 7, 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor Nomination

Before July 7, 1981, there was no female representative in the U.S. justice system. However, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor that day, making her the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her nomination represented a step toward gender equality in the American judiciary. With her presence on the Supreme Court, it sparked inspiration for women to pursue a career as justices, and thus, it helped increase diversity in the legal field. Later on, she was confirmed by the Senate, solidifying her place in history.

Arizona saw crucial progress in women’s rights with O’Connor’s contributions. For one, she helped revoke a 1913 statute that limited women to working no more than eight hours a day. This law had been used to restrict their employment opportunities.

Additionally, O’Connor sponsored legislation that granted women equal responsibility in managing jointly held property with their spouses. This move helped achieve greater equality in marriage and financial matters.

July 13, 1848: The Movement for Women’s Rights Brewed at a Tea Party

The fight for women’s rights has shaken governments, altered norms and affected the lives of millions—and it all began at a tea party.

It happened on July 13, 1848. Philanthropist Jane Hunt gathered Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for tea and they ended up talking about the limitations they experienced as women. They didn’t have the right to vote or own property, they lacked spaces to intellectually flourish and they have had enough of it.

At the end of the tea party, the women had a plan to organize the Seneca Falls Convention which would ultimately led to better rights for women.

July 19-20, 1848: Seneca Falls Convention

On July 13, 1848, a tea party in Waterloo stirred the conversation on the need to champion women’s rights. A few days later, more women joined that conversation as it was moved to Seneca Falls.

On July 19 to 20, the first women’s rights convention in the United States was held in Seneca Falls, New York. Organized by Jane Hunt, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, its attendees discussed social, civil, and religious conditions from the vantage point of women who, at that time, lacked the right to vote and own property among others.

As a result, the convention produced the Declaration of Sentiments, a document demanding legislative reforms for women. This event laid the foundation for the women’s rights movement in America.

July 20, 1960: Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Election

On this day, the world saw the first woman elected to lead a government in the modern world when Sri Lanka voted Sirimavo Bandaranaike into office as their new Prime Minister.

Bandaranaike’s political career began in 1960 following the assassination of her husband who served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

Her tenure opened doors for social and economic reforms. But it wasn’t just her country that benefited from her victory; her election also showed the world that women have the capacity to lead on a national scale.

In India, Indira Gandhi, daughter of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, became India’s Prime Minister in 1966. In Israel, Golda Meir became the country’s first and only female Prime Minister in 1969, serving until 1974. All of these milestones happened following Bandaranaike’s win.

July 25, 1978: Birth of Louise Brown

On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown, the first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), was born in the United Kingdom.

Her birth represented a breakthrough in reproductive medicine. With this advancement, IVF offered new possibilities for women facing infertility. It also helped in revolutionizing reproductive healthcare.

Since her birth, there have been many IVF research and techniques that continued to evolve.

Moreover, new methods were also introduced, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and preimplantation genetic testing (PGT.) These enhanced the efficacy and safety of fertility treatments.

Brown’s birth marked the beginning of a new era in assisted reproductive technology, which provided hope to countless individuals and families seeking to conceive.

July 28, 1868: 14th Amendment Certification

On July 28, 1868, the certification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was etched in American history with effects for women’s rights and empowerment.

The Amendment granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including formerly enslaved individuals.

While initially focused on addressing post-Civil War issues, the 14th Amendment laid a foundation for future advancements in women’s rights.

Included in its equal protection clause was a basis in legal battles for gender equality. Over decades, women’s rights activists invoked the 14th Amendment in their advocacy for suffrage, reproductive rights, equal pay, and nondiscrimination in education and employment.

Beyond its legal implications, the 14th Amendment contributed to a broader cultural shift towards recognizing women as full and equal citizens.

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