ACLU History: Protecting Women's Equality

Document Date: September 1, 2010

1993 Throughout the 1970s, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, successfully tackled laws that treated women as second-class citizens. Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men AND WOMEN are created equal.

The early feminist ACLU leaders, were far ahead of their time not only in their striving for women’s equality but also in understanding that their struggle for equality shared common cause with other segments of the population who had also been denied their rights.

The ACLU shares the year of its founding, 1920, with another momentous event in civil liberties history: the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. ACLU founders Crystal Eastman and Jane Addams were among the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. Addams, the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, served as Vice President of the National Women’s Suffrage Association from 1911 to 1914. Eastman worked in the women’s suffrage movement and was co-director, with ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, of the American Union Against Militarism; she also formed the National Woman’s Peace Party in 1915.

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