America: the land of the free, the brave and the independent…women that is. Each Fourth of July the nation celebrates being a free thinking and acting country full of a diverse range of opinions and never ending political debate. But what we should also be celebrating? The independence of women! The state of women’s rights is dramatically different from 1776 when America was just starting to strike out on its own. Read on to find out just a few of the ways women have been liberated since our first Fourth of July.
Then and Now: Women’s Roles and Rights in 1776 and 2010
Then: Separate military services for women were established in 1942, but it wasn’t until 1948 under President Truman’sÂ Women’s Armed Services Immigration Act that women gained professional military status.
Now: Since 2000, 235,000 women have been on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Then: In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and women earned the right to vote – a whopping 144 years after the United States was declared independent.
Now: Solicitor General of the United States and former Harvard Dean Elena Kagan is poisedÂ to become the fourth female Supreme Court Justice in the court’s history – and we can still vote.
Then: In the late 1770s, coverture was the leading school of thought; the idea that a household functioned best if the male was in control of all the household’s assets claiming that most women didn’t have the proper education.
Now: Studies show that 46 percent of college graduates are men, whereas 53 percent are women – and most household responsibilities are split
Then: Wages, real estate and personal property that a woman brought into or earned during her marriage became her husband’s.
Now: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics among married couples, 33.5% of women were making more thanÂ their husbands.