Women’s History Milestones in the 21st Century

Women’s History Month is a month-long celebration of trailblazing women and their contributions that have positively impacted history, our culture, and society. It first started as a week-long celebration in 1981 when President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation declaring National Women’s History Week. Through various joint resolutions between the years 1981-1994, Congress officially designated the entire month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

It’s not news that women play a vital role in the development of humanity. While women’s roles have changed over the years, there has been a more recent and challenging shift due to the coronavirus pandemic, highlighted in recent studies by the Pew Research Center. When the world shut down, so did classrooms. Women continued to work their “day job” while some also had to become their child’s daytime school teacher and caregiver. These children would have otherwise been in a daycare or school. Despite their achievements, women’s contributions are often overlooked in curriculums and industry discussions. For this very reason, Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day were created.

Throughout history, women and various advocacy groups have tirelessly fought for women’s rights across the world. As part of the International Women’s Day celebration, we compiled a list of milestones achieved globally. In the 21st century alone, there have been numerous accomplishments worth acknowledging:

  • 2003: Women of Liberia peaceful protests ended the second civil war in Liberia.
  • 2005: Kuwait’s women finally secured women’s suffrage after 3 years of protests
  • 2008: Iranian women successfully put an end to polygamous marriage
  • 2008: Rwanda became the first modern democracy with a majority female legislature (56%). Since then, the country continued breaking its own records, with 64% of Rwanda’s parliament members being women in 2013.
  • 2009: President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. It allowed women to file lawsuits for wage discrimination.
  • 2010: Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman who won the Oscar for Best Director on a production of the Iraq war – “The Hurt Locker.”
  • 2014: Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for girls’ education, became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 2015: The Pentagon lifted the ban for women in the military to serve in direct combat positions.
  • 2018: Saudi Arabian women’s ongoing protests ended the driving ban against women.
  • 2018: A record-breaking number of women were elected to Congress.
  • 2019: The two NASA astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, performed the first all-woman spacewalk.
  • 2020: Kamala Harris became the first woman elected as the US vice president.

Last year on our Copper and Brass Sales blog, we highlighted women in leadership as part of our Women’s History Month celebration. This year, thyssenkrupp Materials NA celebrates the launch of Women@MX, a network with a new approach for women in our company to build a support group and personal growth at work and home. This group launched as part of the efforts to recognize and support women within our industry and our organization. It is a network that promotes and supports all women to live up to their full potential through the entire employee lifecycle at thyssenkrupp. The group hosts regular impulse sessions on various topics along with smaller sessions to connect on a more personal level in a circle of like-minded female colleagues and trusted allies.

As part of the Women’s History Month celebration, take this opportunity to learn about, encourage, and honor women and their contributions to our communities. Whether it’s a simple act of acknowledging women’s voices, promoting women in leadership, or standing up for women’s rights on a global scale, it takes more than one person’s effort to change the world. Let’s support women so they can continue to make strides in the betterment of our societies.


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