History is full of the unsung achievement of women. Women helped build this country, fought alongside men in wars and social movements, and created some of the most beautiful art of all time, often without credit for their work. The story of women has often been one of silence.

“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
~ Virginia Woolf

A Condensed Timeline of Women’s Achievement

  • 1792 – Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Women, often credited as the first feminist philosophy.
  • 1851 – Two former slaves upset the institution of slavery. Sojourner Truth’s speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” spurs the anti-slavery movement. Around this time, Harriet Tubman begins a smuggling operation that would result in over 300 freed slaves.
  • 1869 – Susan B. Anthony joins Elizabeth Cady Stanton in forming the National Woman Suffrage Association, which leads to women’s right to vote over 70 years later.
  • 1971 – Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan begin the National Women’s Political Caucus, giving voice to women across the United States. Steinem would later start Ms. magazine to further discussion on women’s issues.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. She serves 25 years.
  • 1983 – Sally Ride becomes the first woman in space.
  • 2006 – Tarana Burke begins the #MeToo movement to encourage women to speak out about sexual assault, resulting in several lawsuits and prosecutions, particularly in entertainment and political arenas.

The Silent Struggle

While those women struggled for the rights of freedom, opinion, and choice, deaf and hard-of-hearing women struggled right alongside them. These women proved that while their ears didn’t function the way everyone else’s did, they weren’t broken – and they pushed to break the barriers of hearing loss.

They became symbols of reform and icons for the continuing disability rights movement. Indeed, the greatest challenge for these women was often not physical so much as societal. Like all women, they struggled to be seen and heard as valid members of society.

So join us this month as we celebrate some of the achievements of deaf and hard-of-hearing women. We will highlight just a few of those courageous and persistent women who have helped us on the course to becoming a more accepting and enlightened society.