The History and Continued Fight for Women’s Rights


Kenwood’s Women’s History Month Wall display created by Ms. Worthy.

Riley May and Lacie Pearl

Have you ever really thought about what life was like before women’s rights? Have you ever thought about if there are still inequities that women face today? We have evolved and moved forward with women’s rights but is there still progress to be made for women’s equality and equity in our societies?

One of the biggest victories remembered for Women’s Rights is winning the right to vote in 1920 with 19th Amendment. It wouldn’t be until 1974 though that a woman could even get a credit card in her own name until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX which was another big historical moment in gender equality which granted gender equality in educational programs that received federal funding. It’s most known for the requirement that there be the same amount of female sports available to female athletes as male athletes. However, as the recent debate with Women’s Soccer has shown there’s still debate over gender equality in sports. Just a few months ago, Women’s Soccer won a lawsuit for equal pay as their male counterparts. NPR sports reports, “The lengthy legal dispute dates back to a federal equal pay complaint filed by five high-profile members of the women’s national team in 2016. They said each member of the women’s team was paid thousands of dollars less than the men at nearly every level of competition.” (Treisman).

Though the expectations of young women have changed from the traditional expectation of being a stay at home wife and other, junior Kayla Mclean, shares her frustration of outdated thinking, “Some people, mainly boys, still make jokes telling us we belong in the kitchen.” Even though there’s been progress in the gender expectations of boys and girls, there’s still many stereotypes on things like video games and sports and chores that today’s youth feel they have to battle. “It’s annoying because we’re supposed to be moving past that and bettering future generations,” adds Kayla.

Even though society has come a long way when it comes to Women’s Rights, there is still progress to be made. Even in the year 2022 stories from around the world with not only the Women’s Soccer legal battle for equal pay but the Texas’s abortion band and the controversary over women’s uniforms at the Olympics to the concern for Afghanistan women’s rights are making headlines.

Back in May of 2021 Texas passed the harshest abortion law seen. It went into effect on September 1, 2022. The ban makes abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy. This is due to the embryo showing signs of cardiac activity. Those against the ban argue that most women do not even know they are pregnant by six weeks. The New York Times states, “This is very early in a pregnancy, and many women do not know they are pregnant at that point. By the time a pregnant woman misses her period, she is four weeks pregnant, as doctors usually define it.” (Zernike).


Those that see this ban as a violation against women’s rights also finds it concerning that the ban does not make exceptions for cases that pertain to rape or incest. The ban also allows people to police abortions. They can file a lawsuit against abortion providers or those accused of helping women get an abortion. The Washington Post states, “The law sets a $10,000 award (to be paid by the defendant) for any successful lawsuit to stop an abortion.” (Wagner).  Although the women cannot be sued, this makes it very difficult for them to pursue a safe abortion.


As of Wednesday, October 6, the law banning abortion in Texas was put on hold. This is due to U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordering Texas to suspend the law. The Washington Post shares, “The Biden administration argued that Texas has waged an attack on a women’s constitutional right to abortion.” (Wagner).


“A state may not ban abortions at six weeks. Texas knew this, but it wanted a six-week ban anyway,” states Justice Department attorney Brian Netter (Wagner). In doing so it has created fear in abortion providers, women in Texas and in women in states that already have a ban or are considering one. This temporary suspension is going to create tension as we await the word on what will happen next with the law.

About the same time some women were fighting for their reproductive rights over their own body here in the US, women athletes in the 2021 Olympics were challenging the sexist dress code of what they were expected to wear to play the games they loved.

Norway’s beach volleyball team made international headlines when they were fined for wearing shorts rather than the traditional expectation of bikini bottoms because “officials deemed the shorts to be ‘improper clothing’ “ (Aziz). It was not the first-time women athletes have taken a stand against the sexualization of what they’re told to wear to play their sports. This has been an ongoing controversary for decades.

During the 2021 Summer Olympics Germany’s women gymnasts wore full body suits or unitards instead of the standard more revealing leotard to take a stand “against sexualization” in the sport. “We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear,” German gymnast Elisabeth Seitz said (Aziz).

As the fight for women’s rights continue around the globe, it’s been most concerning in the past year in Afghanistan. Ever since the Taliban took back the reins of Afghanistan in 2021, women and children have been in danger.

After the Taliban had lost their grasp in 2001, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs had started. It was tasked for helping women and children in need and empowering them. “It has run safe houses for women fleeing abusive families for years, and it has saved hundreds of women’s lives every year, according to Halima Prastish, who was the director of women’s affairs in Ghor province before she fled into hiding,” states CBS News (McKenzie).

There was also another group that was formed to help the women and girls of Afghanistan, , Women for Afghan Women. They had 32 safe houses, family guidance centers, and children’s homes in 14 provinces, before their doors started to shut after the Taliban took over. The New York Times shares, “More than half of all Afghan women reported physical abuse and 17 percent reported sexual violence, while almost 60 percent were in forced marriages as opposed to arranged marriages, according to studies cited by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs.” (McKenzie). This was before the Taliban had taken over again, imagine what the numbers are now.

With the takeover of the Taliban there’s fear about whether girls will be able to continue their education and go to school, whether working women will still be able to work, and there’s concern of young girls being forced into arranged marriages. Twenty years of progress for women may have come to an end with the return of the Taliban regime.

Though progress has definitely been made for women’s rights, even here in 2022 there’s still work to be done to continue the fight for all women.



Aziz, Saba. “ ‘Overt sexualization’: Why Olympic women athletes ran into uniform trouble before the Game”. Global News. 27 July 2022. Web Accessed 23 March 2022.

McKenzie, Sheena. “The Taliban Have Seized Control of Afghanistan: What Does that Mean for Women and Girls.” CNN. 22 August 2021. Web Accessed 23 March 2022.

Treisman, Rachel. “U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Wins $24 million in Equal Pay Settlements.” NPR Sports. 22 February 2022. Web Accessed 22 March 2022.

Wagner, John, et al. “Biden Administration Asserts ‘no Constitutional Right is Safe’ if Texas Abortion Law Allowed to Stand.” The Washington Post. 1 November 2021. Web Accessed 23 March 2022.

Zernike, Katie and Adam Liptak. “Texas Supreme Court Shuts Down Final Challenge to Abortion Law.” The New York Times. 11 March 2022. Web Accessed 23 March 2022.