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9 Things American Women Take For Granted

Celebrate National Women’s History Month on The Frisky this month! We’ll be highlighting cool, inspiring ladies and talking about the ways women have gotten ahead over the years.

Women have never had it easy, but we have more opportunities and freedom than we did even a century ago. Keep reading for nine rights you should take advantage of.

  1. The right to vote. The 19th Constitutional Amendment was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified Aug. 18, 1920.
  2. The right to make as much money as men. There are still many out there fighting for women to make the same higher wages as their male counterparts, but 1938′s Fair Labor Standards Act, which “established minimum wage without regard to sex,” made it possible for us to even be pissed about making less.
  3. The right to have a “man’s” job. Sure, you had to be paid as much as the guys at work, but you could never, ever be promoted above one. At least not until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But it wasn’t until the 1973 Supreme Court upheld a 1968 ruling that sex-segregated ads for employment were made illegal.
  4. The right to go to college. Back in the day, educating women wasn’t a priority. In 1870, just one-fifth of resident college and university students were women. Today, women outnumber men on college campuses.
  5. The right to choose our own religion. Way back when, the religion of the man that you chose to marry is what you would convert to. No questions, no nothing. Even if you’re an atheist, you can appreciate this.
  6. The right to own our own property. The first law that said it was permissible for a woman’s name to be listed on a deed came into effect in the middle 1800s. The catch? She had to have her husband’s permission to do so.
  7. The right to choose to have children, or not. Everyone knows about the birth control movement of the ’70s; the struggle started even earlier.
  8. The right to work while pregnant. The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act declared that a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is, or may become, pregnant. It also stated that she cannot be forced to take pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work.
  9. The right to not have sex with our husbands. It wasn’t until 1976 that a law was established making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife. Enough said.
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