National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1970-1987: We wrestle with our democratic freedoms, arguing issues old and new

September 25, 1981
Women join the fight for equality under the law

Sandra Day O'Connor taking oath

&#8220The arbitrary preference established in favor of males cannot stand in the face of the 14th Amendment’s command that no state deny the equal protection of the laws to any person.&#8221
–Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
Reed v. Reed

Inspired by the civil rights movement, other groups are pressing for equal treatment. These days we see Latinos, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities—and women—marching down Main Street, calling for an end to discrimination.

Women have revitalized the movement begun by 19th-century suffragists. Bringing lawsuits and lobbying legislatures, women have broken through barrier after barrier.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed job discrimination based on sex.

Title IX of the Education Act barred sex discrimination in schools that take federal dollars. That opened up opportunities in sports, medicine, business and law.

In 1971, the Supreme Court began applying tougher standards to judge the constitutionality of state laws that discriminate based on sex.

Today, another barrier fell. The Supreme Court swore in its first female Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor.

Read about it in the New York times

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