25 Year Timeline


1985

Minnesota Women’s Press is launched.

EMILY’s List (Early Money is Like Yeast) is created to fund political campaigns for pro-choice, pro-ERA Democratic women candidates.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declares that unequal pay for similar jobs does not constitute sex discrimination.

“Cagney & Lacey” wins the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series.

1986

The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that sexual harassment constitutes illegal job discrimination.

For the first time, U.S. women professionals outnumber men-but are still paid less.

Women surpass men in graduate degrees awarded in the U.S.

Barbara Mikulski (Md.) wins Senate seat, joining Nancy Kassebaum (Kan.) as the second woman in the U.S. Senate.

“Roseanne” is TV’s first working-class feminist hit show.

1987

Aretha Franklin is the first woman inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

The Supreme Court upholds a California law requiring employers to give women disability leave for pregnancy and childbirth and guarantee reinstatement of their jobs.

1988

The Minnesota Women’s Building opens at 550 Rice St. in St. Paul.

RU486, the abortion pill, is marketed in France but blocked in the U.S.

1989

Capt. Linda Bray is first woman Army officer to lead troops into combat, in Panama.

1,200 Minnesota women go to Washing-ton, D.C., for March for Reproductive Freedom.

Joanne Smith and Roberta Levy become the first women chief judges of Hennepin and Ramsey County District Courts.

1990

Dr. Antonia Novello is the first woman surgeon general of the United States.

Sharon Pratt Dixon, Washington, D.C., is the first black woman mayor of a major U.S. city.

Rev. Susan Peterson is installed as senior pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul, the first woman to head a major Lutheran congregation in the U.S.

1991

Anita Hill testifies at Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

Navy pilot Lt. Paula Coughlin’s sexual harassment complaint leads to revelation of Tailhook scandal.

Minnesotan Lois Jenson files nation’s first hostile environment sexual harassment lawsuit, against Eveleth Mines.

The Minnesota Supreme Court is the first national institution of law with a female majority.

DFL Rep. Dee Long is the first woman in Minnesota history to be elected Speaker of the House.

“Thelma and Louise” is the first female outlaw/buddy road film.

1992

March for Women’s Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C,. is the largest march ever held at the Capitol-750,000 demonstrate for reproductive freedom.

Four women elected to the U.S. Senate, for a total of six. Prior to the election, Pres. George Bush states, “This is supposed to be the Year of the Woman in the Senate. I hope a lot of them lose.”

Feminist books “Backlash,” by Susan Faludi, and “Revolution from Within,” by Gloria Steinem, top the best-seller lists for more than 30 weeks.

1993

Family and Medical Leave Act becomes law.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to U.S. Supreme Court joining Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman Supreme Court justice.

Janet Reno becomes the first woman attorney general of the United States.

Ms. Foundation launches Take Our Daughters to Work Day; 1 million girls participate.

Sharon Sayles Belton elected as Minneapolis’ first woman and first African-American mayor.

Minnesotan Arvonne Fraser chosen to represent U.S. women at the United Nations.

The United Nations World Conference on Human Rights names violence against women a human rights violation.

First all-woman expedition reaches the South Pole; includes Minnesota’s Ann Bancroft, who is the first woman to reach both Poles by land.

1994

Female condom approved for use in U.S.

Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush reveal they are pro choice-after leaving the White House.

Violence Against Women Act becomes law.

Former U.S. Navy Lt. Paula Coughlin wins $6.7 million in damages from the Las Vegas Hilton for its role in Talihook.

Minnesota State High School League is nation’s first to approve girls’ ice hockey.

1995

Planned Parenthood files the first class-action suit to protect abortion providers from violence.

United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women is held in Beijing. 200 Minnesota women attend.

Susan Molinari is the first congresswoman to wear slacks on the House floor.

“Xena: Warrior Princess” debuts.

1996

Minnesotan Winona LaDuke runs for U.S. vice-president on Green Party ticket.

The U.S. Supreme Court determines state-supported military colleges cannot exclude women.

1997

Sarah McLachlan creates Lilith Fair, a music festival featuring women musicians.

The marble statue of suffragist leaders Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony is moved out of the basement and installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Madeleine Albright is named the first woman secretary of state and the highest ranking government woman in the history of the U.S.

25th anniversary of Title IX, guaranteeing gender equity in education.

Kathleen Blatz is named first female chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

1998

Eveleth Mines settles out of court with Lois Jenson and 14 other women who sued for sexual harassment.

25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

1999

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura announces in Playboy magazine that he would like to be reincarnated as a 38DD bra.

Minneapolis-based Amazon Bookstore, the nation’s oldest feminist bookstore, sues Amazon.com for trademark infringement.

2000

Sirimavo R.D. Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, the world’s first female prime minister, retires.

2001

Hillary Rodham Clinton is sworn in as a U.S. senator from New York, becoming the first former first lady to win elected office.

Voters in Bahrain approve a referendum that includes the right of women to stand for office.

Irene Zubaida Khan becomes secretary general of Amnesty International-the first woman, first Asian woman and first Muslim to guide the world’s largest human rights organization.

2002

Caroline Hamilton and Ann Daniels reach the North Pole, becoming the first all-female team to trek to both poles. They trekked to the South Pole in January 2000.

2003

A Nigerian appeals court overturns a sentence of death by stoning in the adultery case of Amina Lawal.

In support of reproductive rights, the March for Women’s Lives nonviolent demonstration is held in Washington, D.C., and attended by at least 500,000 supporters.

2004

Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, becoming the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize.

2005

The movie “North Country” is released, inspired by the class-action case of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Company. Charlize Theron plays the role of Lois Jenson.

Kuwaiti women are granted the right to vote (effective 2007).

Condoleezza Rice becomes the first African-American female secretary of state.

2006

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is inaugurated as Liberia’s first woman president.

Michelle Bachelet is sworn in as Chile’s first woman president.

Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democratic Union, becomes Germany’s first woman chancellor.

Women 18 and older are allowed by the FDA to purchase Plan B emergency contraception without a prescription.

2007

California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman to serve as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated shortly after her return to Pakistan, following eight years of self-imposed exile.

Harvard University names Drew Gilpin Faust its first woman president in the school’s 371-year history.

2008

Gen. Ann Dunwoody becomes the first woman to serve as a four-star general in the United States.

Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to win a presidential primary contest.

2009

President Obama signs the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act allowing victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint with the government.

Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as the first Hispanic and third female Supreme Court justice.

Farheen Hakeem, a community organizer in Minneapolis, is elected one of four co-chairs of the national Green Party.

2010

MWP celebrates 25 years of sharing women’s stories as an independent, woman-owned publication.