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This timeline was created as part of the Studio for Southern California History's 2007 exhibit: LA Women: A Record of Experience. Authors incude Stephanie Christian, Aimee Dozois & Sharon Sekhon.
Link to 2012 poem "The Real Ladies of LA: Women of Strength and Integrity."
Toypurina (1761 - 1799): In 1785, Tongva shaman Toypurina participated in a conspiracy to destroy Mission San Gabriel at the age of twenty-four years old. Born and raised in the Gabrieliño village Japchivit near Mission San Gabriel, Toypurina saw firsthand how the missions destroyed her culture and people. When questioned about her role in planning the revolt, Toypurina defiantly stated: "I hate the padres and all of you, for living here on my native soil, for trespassing upon the land of my forefathers." Although banished to Mission San Carlos Boromeo in Carmel, after her release Toypurina went on to be baptized (though historians argue over her intention in doing so) and married a Spanish soldier named Manuel Montero. The couple produced three children.
Bridget “Biddie” Mason (1818 – 1891): Originally from Mississippi, Bridget Mason traveled as a slave to San Bernardino, California with her master from Texas. In 1856 Mason successfully petitioned the California Supreme Court for her freedom, and tested and determined the state’s status as “Free.” With her three children, Mason moved from San Bernardino to Los Angeles to purchase a portion of Spring Street and began a thriving career as a midwife. Mason was known as a philanthropist, giving of her time and money to the needy and incarcerated. In 1872 she and son-in-law Charles Owens founded the First African Methodist Episcopal church.
Caroline Severance (1820 - 1914): Carolyn Severance was instrumental in establishing the rights of women by working with women at a national and local level. In 1866 Severance, with Susan B. Anthony, founded the Equal Rights Association. In 1867, with Lucretia Mott, T. W. Higginson, and others, she founded the Free Religious Association. And in 1869, Severance and Lucy Stone founded the American Woman Suffrage Association. Severance moved to Los Angeles in 1875 and continued her efforts. She established kindergartens and began the Friday Morning Club, a women’s club and center for social reform efforts in Los Angeles. Always active in the fight for female suffrage, Severance was given the honor of being the first woman to register in California after the state gave women the vote in 1910. Carolyn Severance was 91 years old.
Modesta Avila (1867 – 1891): In 1889 Modesta Avila, a chicken farmer in San Juan Capistrano, hung a clothesline across the Santa Fe rail line with a note reading: "This land belongs to me. And if the railroad wants to run here, they will have to pay me $10,000." Avila was protesting the building of the rail line across her family’s property, just fifteen feet from Avila’s front door. Instead of winning her dispute, Avila was charged with “obstruction of a train.” After the first trial failed to convict her, a second trial succeeded, chiefly by disparaging Avila’s character and spreading false rumors that the unmarried and beautiful Avila was pregnant. Avila died two years into her 3-year prison term. Her protest and conviction demonstrate the power of the railroads in 19th century California and her courage in opposing such a force.
Minerva Hoyt (1866 - 1945): Born in Mississippi, Minerva Hoyt traveled to and settled in South Pasadena, California in the 1890s. For most of her life, Hoyt was known as a society matron, but in the 1920s, after losing her husband and son, she turned her attention to teaching appreciation for, and the preservation of, the Southwest desert. Inspired by the beauty of Joshua trees and appalled by the vandalism occurring in the desert, including the burning of Joshua trees to light automobile routes and the plundering of native wildlife to populate city patios. On June 14, 1930, the tallest Joshua tree known to have ever existed was torched and charred by vandals and “the Devil’s Garden,” a valley north of Palm Springs once known for its plentiful cacti, is still recovering from plundering that occurred in the 1930s. In 1936, after meeting with Hoyt and learning of her goal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation establishing Joshua Tree National Monument and over one million square miles of protected terrain. Hoyt’s activism on behalf of Southern California’s deserts earned her the nickname “Apostle of the Cacti.”
Olive Percival (1868 - 1945): A member of turn-of-the century "Arroyo Culture," Olive Percival was celebrated in Southern California for her acting and for opening her Garvanza home to painters, sculptors, writers, and bibliophiles. Percival wrote The Children’s Garden Book where she devised plans for whimsical gardens that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike. As an ardent feminist, Percival was involved in the Progressive movement, as well as holding membership in the Los Angeles Women's Athletic Club, the Friday Morning Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Despite being a major figure in "Arroyo Culture," Percival was an outsider to the circle of Charles F. Lummis, Los Angeles’ first librarian and most celebrated preservationist. Her library of ten thousand American and English children’s books was considered one of the best collections in America and formed the basis of the children’s literature library at the University of California Los Angeles at the Lawrence Clark Powell Library.
Charlotta Amanda Bass (1874 – 1969): Newspaper publisher and activist extraordinaire, Charlotta Bass attacked racism in different ways using the newspaper The California Eagle, which she took over in 1912. Bass promoted boycotts of places known for discriminatory hiring practices through her 1930-31 “Don't Shop Where You Can’t Work” campaign. Bass attacked racism on all fronts by calling attention to police brutality against African Americans and condemning the derogatory portrayals of African Americans by Hollywood. Most importantly, Bass pushed for reform. In 1952 Bass ran unsuccessfully as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, the first African American woman to earn this distinction.
Ethel Percy Andrus (1884 -1967): Los Angeles’ first female high school principal, Ethel Percy Andrus worked at Manual Arts High School and Abraham Lincoln High School and received commendations for her approachability, her improvements to delinquency rates and winning additions to teacher benefits. In 1944, though retired, Andrus began a second calling after nursing her ailing mother back to health. Her mother lived another nine years, but the experience made Andrus keenly aware of the poverty facing many retirees. Andrus lobbied the state legislature and in 1947 created the National Retired Teachers Association. In 1958, Andrus broadened her vision for a political coalition for the elderly and created the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), an outgrowth of the original teachers association. With over 35 million members, AARP is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over in the United States.
Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 - 1944): Founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Aimee Semple McPherson came to Los Angeles in 1918 after traveling the country as a preacher. In 1923 McPherson dedicated Angelus Temple in Echo Park, an institution that often provided more relief to those in need than the city’s own social services. A flamboyant and charismatic leader, McPherson welcomed all. Her preaching style borrowed heavily from her Pentecostal beginnings and incorporated speaking-in-tongues and faith healing. In 1926 McPherson allegedly staged her own kidnapping but Los Angeles District Attorney Asa Keyes opted to not prosecute, citing lack of evidence. The Foursquare Gospel Church continues worldwide with over two million members, over 90% outside the United States.
Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900 – 1980): An accomplished actor, singer, and public servant, Helen Douglas excelled on Broadway and in the United States Congress. After touring Europe as an opera star and actress, Douglas became politicized witnessing the rise of fascism. She returned to California and immersed herself in local causes, becoming a self-described New Deal Democrat and working for the Farm Securities Administration. In 1944, 1946, and 1948, she was elected as a U.S. congressional representative from California's fourteenth district, which encompassed parts of downtown and South Central Los Angeles. In 1950 as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Helen Gahagan Douglas made history in her run for U.S. Senate as the first woman from California to win the endorsement of a major political party, in this case the Democrats. Douglas campaigned against Richard M. Nixon whose attempts to portray Douglas and her husband as Communist sympathizers have been described by historians as “the worst example of ‘red smear’ tactics in the twentieth century.” Among other things, Nixon described Douglas as “being pink right down to her underwear.” After this campaign, Douglas refrained from running again ran for public office, choosing to fight for liberal causes in other ways.
Aurora Castillo (c. 1901 – 1998): Aurora Castillo, the great-reat-granddaughter of Augustine Pedro Olvera, for whom Olvera Street is named, spent most of her career as a secretary for Douglas Aircraft. However, in 1984 at the age of 83, Castillo became an environmental activist and started the Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA), a community organization to protect East Los Angeles from environmental and public health threats. MELA successfully stopped a prison from being built in East Los Angeles and halted the building of an incinerator and hazardous waste treatment plant, citing probable environmental threats. In 1995 she became the first Los Angeles resident to win the $75,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, “the Nobel Prize for environmentalists.” Castillo told the Los Angeles Times in 1995: "People figure us to be an uneducated, low economic Democratic community. We may not have a PhD after our names, but we have common sense and logic, and we are not a dumping ground. We're not the sleeping giant people think we are. We're wide awake, and no way will anything be put over on us."
Louise Leung Larson (1905 - 1988): After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1926, Louise Leung became the first Asian American reporter for a major American newspaper. Having shopped her articles all across the city, Leung brought an article to The Los Angeles Record and was hired on the spot at the age of 21. She later wrote for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Daily News, San Francisco News, Chicago Daily Times, and Santa Monica Evening Outlook. As a reporter, Leung Larson covered the Hall of Justice and the court system within the Southern California region. Through her work she met and reported on Al Capone, Aimee Semple McPherson and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.
Dorothy Ray Healey (1914 – 2006): A lifelong activist for the downtrodden, Dorothy Healey worked for the rights of the American worker, minorities, and the middle class. In 1933, Healey organized Mexican and Japanese berry pickers in El Monte. As head of the Los Angeles branch of the Communist Party after 1946, she built bridges between unions, civil rights movements, and progressive electoral coalitions. During the Red Scare, she was one of the original Smith Act defendants, arrested, jailed, and tried for “attempting to overthrow the government,” until the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. Healey’s work was instrumental in building the American Communist Party, though in the 1950s she disavowed connections to the U.S.S.R. after learning of Stalin’s horrific regime of terror.
Iva Ikuko Toguri (1916 – 2006): After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1940, Iva Toguri, a Los Angeles native, visited family in Japan but was trapped in the country when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Taking a secretarial job at Tokyo Radio to support herself, Toguri was approached by Australian prisoner of war Major Charles Cousens to help enact a covert anti-propaganda campaign through the propaganda show “Zero Hour.” Unlike others who participated on the show, Toguri refused to renounce her citizenship or voice disparaging attitudes about the Allies; she performed the comedic role of “Orphan Ann.” On her return to the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into her involvement and released her after one year. However, in 1948 Toguri was targeted and condemned, largely by newspaper columnist Walter Winchell, as the voice of “Tokyo Rose,” a compilation of haunting female voices using sultry overtones that predicted doom for American troops over Tokyo Radio. Toguri vehemently denied being “Tokyo Rose” and ever giving up her allegiance to the United States. Nevertheless, she was indicted by a federal grand jury and stripped of her citizenship. She served six years in a federal prison, and upon her release she settled in Chicago. In 1977, after much lobbying by the Japanese American Citizen’s League, President Gerald Ford issued Toguri a Presidential Pardon.
Sister Mary Corita Kent (1918 - 1986): Dubbed “the joyful revolutionary,” Frances Elizabeth Kent was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa and raised in Los Angeles. In 1936 she joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and adopted the name Sister Mary Corita. In 1946, Kent returned to Immaculate Heart to teach art and eventually become the Chair of the Art Department. A trained artist, Corita’s work pushed themes of peace, love, and understanding through her serigraph art. Corita’s cries for peace in the era of Vietnam were not always welcome. In 1965 her ?Peace on Earth? Christmas exhibit in IBM’s New York showroom was considered too subversive and exhibit organizers censored her work. She left the order in 1968 and moved to Boston, where she devoted herself to making art full time. In 1985 Kent created the “Love” stamp, the most popular stamp in United States postal history.
Mayme A. Clayton (1923 - 2006): Librarian, archivist, researcher, and preserver of African American history, Mayme Clayton moved to Los Angeles from Arkansas in 1946. She earned multiple university degrees and began a career as a librarian in 1952 at the University of Southern California, and later moved to the University of California at Los Angeles. Noting the lack of attention to preserving African American literature, in the 1960s Clayton began amassing Black Americana, eventually gathering a collection of over 20,000 items. Most prized in her collection is a signed copy of Phyllis Wheatley's 1773 "Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral," considered to be the first book published in America by an author of African descent. Today, the collection resides in the Western States Black Research and Cultural Center in Culver City, but the Clayton family's long-term goal is to build a world-class museum and research center in Los Angeles with the collection as the centerpiece.
Sister Karen Boccalero (1933 - 1997): Raised in Boyle Heights, Karen Boccalero eventually entered a convent in the Franciscan order. In 1972 Boccalero founded Self-Help Graphics in East Los Angeles in the garage behind the sisters’ residence, intending Self-Help Graphics to be a “silkscreen print poster collective.” Her participatory model of art allowed Self-Help Graphics to develop into a central place to share and practice Chicano art. Much of the art created under Boccalero’s tutelage is archived at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Today, Self-Help Graphics continues as a nationally recognized center for Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists in printmaking.
Lucia Capacchione (1935 - ): As psychologist and trained artist, Lucia Capacchione bridged the two worlds as a pioneer in art therapy. Capacchione is a best selling author of 13 self-help books and leads international workshops to aid individuals in self-actualization. In 1991 Capacchione made “inner child” a household term with the publication Recovery of Your Inner Child. Her teachings have inspired individuals across the globe; most recently in the 2006 Iranian film Cease Fire which begins with a dedication to Capacchione. Before her career as an art therapist, Capacchione introduced Montessori educational methods to Los Angeles and headed one of the first Head Start Chapters in Los Angeles County. Capacchione continues to practice in Cambria, California.
Jackie Goldberg (1937 - ): Known as “Hurricane Jackie,” Goldberg has been a pioneer in civil rights issues since the 1960s when she participated in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement as a student. After teaching in Compton high schools for eighteen years, Goldberg built a career of public service, from serving on the Los Angeles Unified School Board from 1983 – 1991, to becoming the first openly lesbian woman to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1993. In 2000 Goldberg was overwhelmingly elected to the California State Assembly, where she introduced and supported legislation that above all upholds the dignity of her constituents, from eliminating sweatshop conditions in car washes to expanding the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners. In 2006, Goldberg’s Assembly term ended due to term limits.
Frances Kazuko Hashimoto (ca 1945 - ): Born during World War II in the Poston, Arizona internment camp and raised in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, Frances Hashimoto has worked in the family business Mikawaya Confectionary throughout her life. In 1970, after graduating from the University of Southern California, Frances joined the business full time. Mikawaya Confectionary was begun in 1910 by Frances’ parents, Haru and Koroko Hashimoto, and has remained a Little Tokyo mainstay, providing some of the world’s best mochi (sweet rice cakes). Frances and her husband Joel Friedman took mochi to a new level by creating mochi ice cream in 1984. Mochi ice cream took off; it is now sold in seven flavors and all over the United States. Hashimoto is an active participant in Little Tokyo’s Annual Nisei Week, serving as Grand Marshall in 2006. She continues to run Mikawaya Confectionary.

1769 The Spanish claim Alta California in 1769, when explorer Gaspar de Portolà reached this part of California. Accompanying him were two Franciscan Padres, Junipero Serra and Juan Crespi who were recording the expedition.

1776 British colonies in America revolt against King George III. The War for Independence begins, with the radical belief in Natural Rights and democracy, eventually to form the United State of America. The Declaration of Independence based natural or "unalienable rights" on human nature, arguing that it was "self-evident" that human beings by their very nature seek life, liberty, and happiness.

1781 Los Angeles, or El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula is founded by California governor Felip de Neve on behalf of King Carlos III of Spain. Within a month, founding families will build the Zanja Madre (Mother Ditch) which brought water to the town from the Porciuncula River.

1785 24-year-old Tongva shaman Toypurina participated in an Indian conspiracy to destroy Mission San Gabriel. When questioned about her role in planning the revolt, Toypurina said: "I hate the padres and all of you, for living here on my native soil, for trespassing upon the land of my forefathers."

1777-1807 American women are systematically disenfranchised of the vote in every state through a series of legislative acts, though under some colonial laws were allowed to vote.

1792 English writer Mary Wollstonecraft writes Vindication of the Rights of Woman. This early feminist treatise promoted the idea women’s rights based on the spiritual equality of all human beings. 1844 Californio Maria Ascenscion Jacinta Sepulveda y Avila is born in her family’s home on Eternidad, (now known as Broadway and in contemporary Chinatown). She will go on to marry American Thomas Dillingham Mott and bridge two cultures in early Los Angeles history.

1856 Bridget "Biddy" Mason petitions for, and is granted freedom from a life of slavery by a San Bernardino, California court. She then moves to Los Angeles and becomes one of the first African American women to own land there.

1869 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and others form the American Woman Suffrage Association. The primary goals of each group is obtaining voting rights for women on a federal and state level, respectively.

1870 California passes a law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese, and Mongolian women for prostitution. This is followed up by the Page Law in 1875 which extended this law to a national level, further stereotyping Asian immigrant women.

1880 California enacts an anti-miscegenation law prohibiting marriages between whites and nonwhites, thereby causing a fine divide between racial groups 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson, a writer and activist for Native Americans in California, writes her famous fictional novel Ramona. Often called the "Uncle Tom's Cabin of California," Ramona’s most enduring impact was the creation of several regional myths that helped to stimulate tourism in Southern California and obfuscated Jackson’s original goals of reform.

1887 Olive Percival arrives in Los Angeles and contributes to the “Arroyo” artists colony. She will publish the high acclaimed The Children's Garden Book in 1911. Percival’s book shows children that the pleasures of one's own garden may be achieved through planning, patience, dedication, and imagination.

1889 Modesta Avila protests the intrusion of the Santa Fe Railroad onto her mother’s land in what is now known as San Juan Capistrano. At 20 years old, Modesta tied a clothesline with laundry attached to dry across the rail road tracks. She was charged and convicted of “attempted obstruction of a trai.” She died two years into her three year sentence at San Quentin Prison.

1893 Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the right to vote.

1896 The first women's intercollegiate basketball game in the United States is held, with Stanford University defeating the University of California at Berkeley.

1910 Alice Stebbins Wells is hired as the first female police office in the United States by the Los Angeles Police Department.

1911 California grants women the right to vote after years of organizing. Los Angeles activist Caroline Severance was given the honor of being the first to register.

1912 Margaret Q. Adams is deputized by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and was the first female sheriff in the United States.

1914 Architect Julia Morgan builds the Los Angeles Hearst Examiner building. Plans are underway to restore and convert the 1914 landmark on the southwest corner of 11th and Broadway into offices and condominiums.

1916 Georgia Ann Robinson, the first African American female police officer in the United States is hired by the Los Angeles Police Department.

1917 Ethel Andrus Percy becomes the first woman high school principal in California at Lincoln Hight School in Los Angeles. Percy would go on to organize and found the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in 1958.

1920 The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is signed into law by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

1922 Cable Act also known as the “Married Women’s Citizenship Act” is passed and stipulates that any American female citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino or other men racially ineligible to naturalize) would lose her citizenship.

1928 Women compete for the first time in Olympic field events.

1930 The first Sisters of Social Service Motherhouse is established and later becomes the first retreat house for women in Los Angeles.

1931 Amendment to Cable Act declares that no American-born woman who loses her citizenship by marrying an alien ineligible to citizenship can be denied the right of naturalization at a later date.

1931 The Mei Wah (Chinese in America) Club, the oldest L.A. Chinese women's club which is still active, was formed in 1931 by ten Chinese American teenage girls as a basketball team. In subsequent years, Mei Wah expanded to become a charitable organization, providing financial assistance to the refugees of war-torn China in the 1930s.

1933 Frances Perkins is appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Perkins is the first American cabinet member.

1936 After years of campaigning by South Pasadena society matron, Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs a presidential proclamation establishing Joshua Tree National Monument.

1942 Photographer Dorothea Lange documents the internment of Japanese American in California as part of Executive Order 9066. She is censored from showing the photographs until after the war is over.

1946 Sister Corita (Kent) joins Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles to teach art. Leading an innovative art program, Corita’s students went on to lead activist lives inspired by her teaching and peace-seeking pop art.

1948 Perez V. Sharp: Andrea Perez, a Mexican-American woman, and Sylvester Davis, an African-American man, filed a lawsuit against then Los Angeles County Clerk W.G. Sharp after Perez & Davis had sought and then were denied a marriage license from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office. Under then California state law, no marriage licensed could be issued between a “white” and a “negro” person. The case went to the California Supreme Court and the couple were able to successfully overturn California’s miscegenation laws.

1949 Simone de Beauvoir publishes Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex).

1950 In India, women over 21 years get the right to vote.

1950 Harvard Law school admits women as students.

1960 The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.

1961 President John Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care. 1962 Dolores Huerta and activist Cesar Chavez founded the organization that later became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

1963 Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.

1963 Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes first woman in space.

1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex. At the same time it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties.

1966 Los Angeles attorney Yvonne Brathwhaite Burke became the first African American woman to hold office in the California Legislature and in 1972 became the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from California.

1966 The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. The largest women's rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.

1968 The EEOC rules that sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers are illegal. This ruling is upheld in 1973 by the Supreme Court, opening the way for women to apply for higher-paying jobs hitherto open only to men.

1969 California becomes the first state to adopt a "no fault" divorce law, which allows couples to divorce by mutual consent. By 1985 every state has adopted a similar law. Laws are also passed regarding the equal division of common property.

1970 The Boston Women's Health Book Collective publishes Our Bodies, Ourselves.

1972 The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Originally drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, the amendment reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The amendment dies in 1982 when it failed to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.

1972 Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletics programs and professional schools increases dramatically.

1972 Womanhouse is created in an abandoned house in Hollywood. First conceived of by Paula Harper and spearheaded by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, this women-only art installation and performance also included their students and artists from the local community.

1973 Supreme Court Case Roe V Wade legalizes abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy

1975 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that women cannot be excluded from juries because of their sex.

1976 Women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women held in Belgium walked together holding candles to protest the ways in which violence permeates the lives of women worldwide beginning the tradition of “Take Back the Night.”

1978 “Take Back the Night” begins in the United States in San Francisco when Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media sponsor a march through the city’s red light district.

1980 The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines and prohibits sexual harassment.

1986 Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court finds that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination.

1990 New data from the Census Bureau finds that women own one-third of all U.S. businesses, employing 26% of the nation's work force. Sales from the 7.95 million women-owned businesses have jumped 236% since 1987, and employment in those businesses rose to 18.5 million workers from only 6.6 million in 1987. According to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, the number of women-owned companies increased 78% in the last nine years while growth among U.S. firms was only 47%.

1994 The Violence Against Women Act tightens federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers.

2003 Californian Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman to serve as Democratic Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.