ACLU Women's Rights Victories

December 31, 1996

1971 -- The U.S. Supreme Court for the first time invalidated a state law which discriminated on the basis of sex.

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1973 -- The U.S. Supreme Court declared that Social Security coverage must extend equally to the survivors of working women and men.

1973 -- The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the government's practice of granting benefits to all married men serving in the armed forces, but not to servicewomen unless they could prove that they provided three fourths of the family's support.

1975 -- The Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a state regulation denying pregnant women unemployment compensation.

1978 -- The Supreme Court declared illegal an entrenched practice of our nation's insurance companies, which used sex as a factor determining premium rates for a wide range of insurance benefits. The practice affected millions of women, and especially harmful to elderly women.

1982 -- The Supreme Court declared illegal Mississippi's maintenance of female-only nursing school on the grounds that no such facility was provided for men , and because it perpetuated the stereotyped view of nursing as "women's work."

1983 -- American Cyanamid settled, before trial, a 1979 suite brought against its policy of excluding all fertile women from certain positions that exposed them to toxic substances unless they provided proof of sterilization, and demoting of transferring women who refused to be sterilized.

1984 -- The thousands of working women insured be TIAA-CREF won a change in its sex-based annuity plans, which had required that women pay in the same amount of money as men but take out less money upon retirement.

1986 -- The Eleventh Circuit invalidated a trucking company's over-the-road driving experience requirement that operated to exclude women from truck driving jobs.

1988 -- A Pennsylvania appellate court invalidated, under the state's ERA, a law that authorized gender based insurance rates. The Commonwealth Supreme Court affirmed in 1989.

1989 -- The Federal District Court in New York enjoined The New York State Educated Reportment of relying solely on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in the award of state merit scholarships on the grounds that the test discriminates on the basis of gender.

1991 -- In the "most important sex discrimination case in 25 years" the Supreme Court ruled in UAW v. Johnson Controls that employers cannot bar all fertile women from workplaces where they might be exposed to toxic substances. Employers must make the workplace safe for all workers.

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