11 Astonishing Facts: What Women Were Once Prohibited From Doing

The journey towards gender equality has been a long and arduous one, filled with numerous obstacles and outdated societal norms. While progress has been made, it’s crucial to remember the limitations that women once faced. Here are 11 astonishing facts about activities and rights that were once off-limits to women.

11 Astonishing Facts: What Women Were Once Prohibited From Doing

1. The Right to Vote:
Women were historically excluded from participating in elections. The suffrage movement was instrumental in securing voting rights for women, most notably through the 19th Amendment in the United States.

2. Property Ownership:
Owning land or property was a right reserved for men. This began to change in the late 19th century, thanks to legal reforms.

3. Higher Education:
Universities were male-only institutions for a long time. The late 19th century saw the advent of coeducational and women-only colleges, opening doors for women in academia.

4. Professional Careers:
Certain professions like law, medicine, and engineering were male-dominated fields. Anti-discrimination laws like Title IX have helped to balance the scales.

5. Military Service:
Women were not permitted in combat roles and had limited opportunities in the military. Today, women serve in various capacities, including combat positions.

6. Credit Card Ownership:
Until the 1970s, women often needed a male co-signer to get a credit card. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act was a game-changer in this regard.

7. Jury Duty:
Women were frequently excluded from serving on juries due to stereotypes about their emotional stability. Legal reforms in the mid-20th century changed this.

8. Access to Contraceptives:
Birth control was a contentious issue, with limited access for women. Landmark legal cases have since established women’s reproductive rights.

9. Marathon Running:
Women were considered physically incapable of long-distance running until Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, breaking the gender barrier in the sport.

10. Space Exploration:
The realm of astronauts was male-only until Sally Ride broke the mold by becoming the first American woman in space in 1983.

11. Financial Independence:
In some places, women needed their husband’s consent to open a bank account. Modern laws now allow women to manage their finances independently.

Why These Prohibitions Existed:
These limitations were often justified by societal norms, religious beliefs, or pseudo-scientific theories about women’s abilities and roles.

How Change Happened:
The transformation came about through activism, education, and legislative changes. Women and their allies have been at the forefront of these shifts, advocating for a more equitable world.

In summary, these 11 facts serve as a stark reminder of the restrictions women have overcome. While the fight for gender equality is ongoing, acknowledging these past limitations helps us appreciate the strides that have been made.



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