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Labor Day: Honoring Women in the Workforce

By Kaitlyn Wolf
women in the workforce

Over the last 100 years, women have fought and won many advancements in the workforce. In celebration of Labor Day, we wanted to pay tribute to all the hard-working women by recognizing their positive achievements. 

In the 21st century more than ever, we’re seeing a rise in female-owned businesses, along with women who continue to use their voices to pave the way for future generations. These women inspire and empower and have put their whole hearts into creating a greater tomorrow.

Why it is important to celebrate milestones for women

To understand how we got where we are today, it’s important to understand the history behind how women paved the way for real, lasting change. Women have fought for over a hundred years to create equality and it’s paying off more than ever. The root of appreciation comes down to education. Check out these impressive milestones for women to truly understand how powerful using your voice and fighting for change can be. 

Milestones for women in the workforce 

1809 – Mary Kies becomes the first woman to receive a patent, for a method of weaving straw with silk.

1869 – Arabella Mansfield is granted admission to practice law in Iowa, making her the first woman lawyer.

1872 – Female federal employees are guaranteed equal pay for equal work under the law.

1887 – Susanna Medora Salter becomes the first woman elected mayor of an American town, in Argonia, Kansas.

1889– Anna Bissell becomes the first-ever women CEO of Sweeper Company.

1916 – Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, is the first woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives.

1932 – Hattie Wyatt Caraway, of Arkansas, becomes the first woman elected to the US Senate.

1933 – Frances Perkins becomes the first female cabinet member, appointed secretary of labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1941 – A shortage of workers during WWII opens a large range of high-paying jobs to women. Almost seven million women enter the workforce, creating the cultural icon “Rosie the Riveter.”

**1963** – The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress, promising equitable wages for the same work, regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin, or sex of the worker.

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

1983 – Dr. Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman to be sent into space.

1984 – U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first vice president nominee by a major party. Nominated by Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale. 

1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first female secretary of state.

2007 – Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female speaker of the House.

2008 – Nour Al Hassan tackles female entrepreneurship by founding Tarjama, a translation company that translates over 150 million words in 30 languages and gives Saudi women help enhancing their skills to obtain better job opportunities. 

2009 – Michelle Obama becomes the first African-American First Lady and creates Let’s Move which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.

2011 – Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African-American multi-billionaire.

2013 – The U.S. military removes the ban preventing women to serve in combat positions. 

2016 – Hillary Rodham Clinton secures the Democratic presidential nomination, becoming the first U.S. woman to lead the ticket of a major party.

2017 – Congress has a record number of women, with 104 female House members and 21 female Senators, including the chamber’s first Latina, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

2018 – Stacy Cunningham becomes the first woman president of the New York Stock Exchange.

2019 –  Esther Duflo wins Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Making her the second woman, as well as the youngest woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.  

2020 – Gitanjali Rao is named TIME’s kid of the year at only 15 years old for her development of two apps. One to detect lead in drinking water and the other recently developed app Kindly. The Kindly app uses artificial intelligence to detect cyberbullying.

2020 –  New Zealand appoints Nanaia Mahuta as the first indigenous female foreign minister.

2021 –  Kamal Harris is sworn in as the first woman, as well as the first woman of color to become the vice president of the United States. 

6 Ways To Support Women On Labor Day

While Labor Day marks the end of summer, it’s also a day of tribute and an opportunity to honor women for playing such a vital role in making a change in the world. Here are 6 ways you can support women this Labor Day. 

1. Shop women-owned businesses! 

Buy yourself a new outfit or get someone special in your life a gift. Need a tote for your everyday essentials? Check out Francine Collections. Updating your home? Greener Stock is the perfect resource for natural, non-toxic, and eco-friendly building materials. Be sure to use your RoarMoney℠ Mastercard or virtual debit card when you’re shopping to earn rewards on purchases!

2. Express yourself 

Tell the women in your life how much you love and appreciate them. Women aren’t always acknowledged for how hard they work. Make it a point to reach out to women you care about and express to them how valuable they are in your life and in this world.   

3. Educate the youth

Educate your kids on what women have done in the world and how pivotal their voices and actions are in creating change. By empowering and educating the next generation on women’s rights, you’re helping to ensure a better future for everyone.    

4. Mentor

Volunteer your time by mentoring a young girl in your area through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Many girls throughout the U.S. are held back by poverty, teen violence, and poor-performing school systems. You can help influence and mentor young women in your area to see their value and maybe one day be part of creating change throughout the world. 

5. Support women focused charities and organizations 

Support women in crisis and donate to worldvision.org. Millions of girls are victims of abuse, child marriages, child labor, and human trafficking. By donating, you’re helping to protect these girls by equipping them with skills, education, counseling, medical care, and other programs to help end the cycle of gender-based violence. 

6. Help break the cycle of female violence and discrimination 

Give to a cause like UN Women to support breaking the cycle of violence and discrimination. You’ll be helping to assist survivors while supporting equal rights for women and girls around the world.      

Honoring women around the world

Let’s continue to honor these women who have shown great resilience in getting our nation to where it is today. Women who wouldn’t take no for an answer and saw a world full of opportunity. Women who speak powerful words and take even more powerful action, with a commitment to fighting the good fight for equality. Women, just like you who have the ability to make a difference in this world and truly be the change, be the difference and be the voice.

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