This year marks the first reauthorization of VAWA with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA), improving protections of battered women by granting immigration relief to non-citizen victims of violent crimes, sexual assault and trafficking via the U nonimmigrant status (U visa) and of the T nonimmigrant status (T visa).


The second reauthorization of VAWA in 2005 expands on the previous measures taken to protect victims of violence and trafficking, including non-citizens. The reauthorization: expanded protections for abused children and children of abused non-citizen spouses; expanded eligibility for self-petitioning to non-citizens abused by their U.S. citizen sons and daughters; and permitted abused non-citizen spouses to apply for work authorization.


Source: Library of Congress

Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman to be Speaker of the House. She reclaims the title in 2019, becoming the first lawmaker to hold the office twice in over fifty years. 


Source: Washington Post

Tarana Burke creates the “Me Too” movement, predating the large social media campaign that takes place in 2017, to raise awareness of the pervasive sexual abuse that women and girls, particularly those of color, face in society. 

Source: Public Relations Society of America

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act is signed into law by President Barack Obama. The Act allows victims of pay discrimination—usually women—to file a wage discrimination complaint against their employer within 180 days of their last paycheck. 

Source: The Economic Times

Ursula Burns becomes the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Burns served as the CEO for Xerox from 2009 - 2016. 


The Affordable Care Act increases access to birth control by mandating private health insurance companies to cover birth control without any additional payments.

Source: Politico

Tammy Duckworth becomes the first woman with a disability to be elected to the House of Representatives. In 2016, she becomes the first woman with a disability to be elected to the Senate. In 2018, Duckworth becomes the first Senator to give birth while in office. 

Source: The New York Times

The U.S. military removes a ban against women in combat positions, overturning a 1994 Pentagon decision restricting women from combat roles.


The 2013 reauthorization of VAWA redefines the term domestic violence to include "intimate partners" in addition to "current and former spouses"; provides housing protections stating that no victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking may be denied public housing assistance; and establishes a provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability” for all VAWA grant programs.


Millennial women between the ages of 25 and 34 close the pay gap in New York, earning $1.02 for every $1 earned by men. However, as of 2021, a national wage gap still persists

Source: The Guardian

Obergefell v. Hodges: The Supreme Court, in a landmark case, declares same-sex marriage legal across the United States. 

Source: U.S. Department of State

Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to receive a presidential nomination from a major political party. 

Source: Unicef USA

The U.S. Senate swears in Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada, the first Latinx representative in Congress. 

Source: Library of Congress

The Women’s March takes place in Washington, D.C. as one of the largest protests in American history. Nearly 500,000 people attended to advocate for legislation and policies regarding women’s rights, equality for people of color, immigration rights and reform, protections and rights for LGBTQ+ people, and social justice. Millions more, across all 50 states and 30 countries, held sister protests. 

Source: USA Today

Attorney General Jeff Sessions restricts asylum access to victims of domestic violence. This decision overturned a precedent which allowed more women to file for an immigration status under domestic violence concerns. 

Source: Fair Planet

Proposal 5, an amendment to the State Constitution of Vermont, is passed giving permanence to the right to personal reproductive liberty. This amendment will limit the ability of lawmakers in the future to restrict abortion rights. 

Source: Coin World

August 26th, 2020, marks the centennial of the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote and marking the end of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. 

Source: NPR

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland overturns the 2018 decision that restricts asylum status to victims of domestic violence.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Kamala Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is sworn in as the first woman and first woman of color to be vice president of the United States. 

Source: The Hill

Congress fails to reauthorize the Violence Against Women’s Act. 

Source: Equal Rights Amendment

As of 2021, only 38 states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. As shown on the map, the states in white have yet to ratify the amendment - those include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah. 

Source: Truthout

The year the U.S. Census Bureau predicts women will achieve equal pay, based on the current rate of wage increases.