#TBT! Flashback To The Life-Changing Moments In Women's History

Women around the world today are running countries and companies. They are challenging the status quo with their revolutionary ideas, writings, and designs. They are activists and Nobel Peace Prize winners, and they can be found battling on the front lines of war. Refinery29 is honoring these accomplishments by looking back at women's successes from 1900 to 2016. The beginning of the last century saw female athletes compete in the Olympic Games for the first time. Now, in 2016, plenty of strong female athletes are getting ready to rock it in Rio.

In between those years, Marie Curie did groundbreaking research on radioactivity, Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic, and Valentina Tereshkova went into space. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel transformed fashion, and Lucille Ball left her indelible mark on comedy with I Love Lucy. Tennis legend Billie Jean King advanced women's standings in the sporting world, and Rosa Parks gave power to a movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

We've come a long way, for sure. But women are still being disenfranchised, discriminated against, and abused. While a quarter of a billion have joined the workforce in the last decade, it will take another 188 years (bringing us to 2204) before we achieve global gender parity, according to World Economic Forum estimates. One in three women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, according to the World Health Organization, and thousands of young girls will be forced into marriages far too young.

In the year ahead, women around the world will continue to fight for reproductive rights. 2016 might be the year that the U.S. elects its first female president, even as women in other countries continue to battle to be legally recognized as equals in the most basic ways.

There's a lot of work to be done to advance women's rights, but there are plenty of moments to celebrate, too. That's why every Thursday, Refinery29 will explore women's history with our own #TBT life-changing moments. Click through to get started.

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2016: Hillary Clinton Becomes The First Woman To Win A Major Political Party Nomination For President Of The United States

Hillary Clinton just made history. After the roll-call vote at the DNC, Clinton officially won the Democratic nomination for president. She is the first woman to be nominated to lead a major party ticket in the U.S.

"We just put the biggest crack in the glass ceiling yet," she said in a video address to the delegates. "If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say, I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next."
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Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.
1918 & 1920: Women In The U.K. And The U.S. Gain The Legal Right To Vote

Millions of women in the U.S. are preparing to exercise their right to vote in a presidential election that could potentially sweep the first female to power. To allow women to mark a ballot was a decades-long, hard-fought battle that was won when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in August 1920.

Meanwhile, British women's rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst, who was imprisoned many times, worked to enfranchise women, shaking “society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back.”

Women in the U.K. were granted some voting privileges in 1918, but it wasn’t until the Equal Franchise Act in 1928 that women were given the same voting rights as men. Pankhurst died that same year.
However, the U.S. and the U.K. were behind countries like Australia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Canada when it came to ballot equality. But it would take Brazil until 1932, Switzerland until 1971, and Kuwait until 2005 until women gained both the right to vote and the right to stand for election.

Up until 1994, after 300 years of white rule, South African Black women (and men, too), were denied the same rights as white men, which included choosing elected officials. On the first nonapartheid election, a retired maid told The New York Times, "I don't want the whites to go away…We want to stay with them and build South Africa together."

Suffragist Alice Paul toasts the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
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Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.
1921: The Age Of Innocence

Writer Gay Talese, dubbed the inventor of New Journalism, recently got himself into hot water because, when he was asked at a talk which female writers had inspired him, the answer he landed on was “none.”

It was a response that was beyond shocking given that the list of accomplished and celebrated female writers is so long. The first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Edith Wharton, did so in 1921 for The Age of Innocence. Her success would be followed by the likes of Alice Walker, who won the same prize — as well as the National Book Award — in 1983 for The Color Purple, which was later adapted into a film, as well as an award-winning musical.

Let Talese also not forget Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, or Maya Angelou and her autobiographical volumes.

"One of the most widely read Spanish-language authors" is a woman — Chilean Isabel Allende, who first won worldwide acclaim for her best-selling novel, The House of the Spirits. The mass-market success of Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame, and J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books is also astounding. Rowling recently tweeted out some of her rejection letters to encourage aspiring authors.

Edith Wharton in a portrait circa 1885.
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Photo: Seattle Times/JR Partners/Getty Images.
1932: Amelia Earhart Flies Solo Across The Atlantic

"It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting," Amelia Earhart is reported to have said upon first seeing a plane at a state fair when she was just 10 years old. She would, of course, later sit in the cockpit, where she’d make history as the first woman — and only the second person — to fly solo across the Atlantic.

But that flight and her many accomplishments that followed only fueled her desire to pilot a plane around the world. On July 2, 1937, at 8:45 a.m., Earhart’s last known words were communicated, "We are running north and south."

Her plane disappeared somewhere between Australia and Hawaii and she was, for decades, the world’s most famous missing person.
Today, of the 130,000 professional pilots worldwide, only about 4,000 — or 3% — are women according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.
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Photo: Luigi Mistrulli/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock.
2016: Meet The First Female Mayor Of Rome

As of this June, women have another name to celebrate — Rome elected its first female mayor in the city’s 2,700-year history.

Virginia Raggi, 37, won the city’s mayoral election in a landslide this week.

The new mayor-elect celebrated her win on Facebook. “In an historical moment where equal opportunities are still a pipe dream, I consider this news of extraordinary value,” she said.

It’s becoming more and more common, thankfully, for women to break into the political sphere, though we still have a long way to go. Only 17 world leaders are female, and in the United States, only about 19% of mayors of major cities are women.

Raggi, a lawyer by trade, told The New York Times shortly before her win that she “couldn’t sit back any longer and just watch” as politics happened around her. Instead of downplaying her experiences as a mother, she drew on them for the campaign, telling The Associated Press that issues like rundown playgrounds and chaotic traffic fueled her desire to enact change.
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Photo: Julio Cortez/AP Photo.
2016: Hillary Clinton Becomes The First Female Presumptive Nominee For A Major Political Party In The United States

Clinton claimed her victory at a rally in Brooklyn. "It may be hard to see tonight, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now," she told the crowd. "Tonight is not about one person — it belongs to generations. Women and men who sacrificed and made this moment possible."

During her speech, Clinton praised her Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying that his campaign "excited millions of voters, especially young people." She also called Trump "temperamentally unfit" to serve as America's next president.

"This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings — no limits — on any of us," Clinton said. "And this is our moment to come together."
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Photo: Ron Galella/Wireimage/Getty Images.
1955: Rosa Parks Refuses To Give Up Her Seat

"I didn't get on the bus with the intention of being arrested," Rosa Parks said. "I got on the bus with the intention of going home."

The defiant act of one woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, AL, set in motion a 381-day bus boycott. The most effective leader of that boycott was none other than Martin Luther King Jr. The city law had required that buses be racially segregated, but the Supreme Court ruled, instead, in Parks' favor. "The mother of the civil rights movement," as Parks is known, demonstrated the power of nonviolent, grassroots protests.

President Lyndon B. Johnson would later sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin, and that gave the federal government the power to enforce desegregation.

Black Lives Matter has recently become a powerful political movement that is "working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise."

While there are significant differences between Black Lives Matter and the civil rights movement, what is key, as one 1960s activist told The Washington Post, is, "Both of them were disruptive of people's view of the status quo."
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Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
1951: I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy premiered on October 15, 1951, and soon millions were tuning in to see the television comedy sitcom starring Lucille Ball and her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, as the eccentric wife and bandleader husband, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

It is hard to overestimate its success. When President Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated in January of 1953, 29 million viewers watched, compared to 44 million (then 72% of all television-equipped homes) when the Lucy-gave-birth episode aired the next day, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. "I Love Lucy has become the 'Mona Lisa' of television, a work of art whose fame transcends its origins and its medium," the museum writes on its site.

The show was one of the first to be taped (as opposed to live), and the first filmed in front of an audience — plus, it pioneered the use of three cameras. Its awards numbered in the hundreds, including five Emmys.

The show has also been credited with challenging social perceptions of women, and when Ball died in 1989, I Love Lucy was still running in syndication in more than 80 countries, according to The New York Times.

Ball accomplished another major feat in 1962, when she became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions.
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Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images.
1900: Women Compete In The Olympics

Some 12,000 relay runners are prepping to carry the Rio de Janeiro 2016 torch across Brazil in anticipation of the world's largest multisporting event. The modern Olympic Games have come a long way since they were first held in Athens in 1896 — a competition in which no women competed.

It wouldn't be until the next go around in Paris in 1900 that 22 female athletes were allowed to participate in two of the five Olympic sports: tennis and golf. It would take, however, more than a century before women were competing in every Olympic sport — that came in London 2012, with the addition of women's boxing.

Female participation is way up since 1900, as well. In the 1964 games in Tokyo, roughly 13% of the athletes were women. That number jumped to 23% in the Los Angeles Games, and 44% in London four years ago, according to the International Olympic Committee.

While the female competition percentages have drastically improved, women are still ill represented on governing and administrative bodies, according to the IOC. In May 2014, out of 106 active IOC members, 24 were women, but the organization states that it is trying to remedy that with quota targets and other outreach and educational efforts targeting women.
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Photo: REX/Shutterstock.
1963: First Woman In Space

"On Earth, men and women are taking the same risks. Why shouldn't we be taking the same risks in space?" Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman to go into space, told the BBC.

On June 16, 1963, Tereshkova began her nearly three-day long trip, in which she orbited the Earth 48 times. The Soviet Union and the United States, two superpowers, were in a space race, each aiming for global supremacy.

"Look at what she has shown to America's astronauts," said then-Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. "She has shown them who is who!" It was not until 1983 that Sally Ride would become the first American woman in space. Now, NASA has hit gender parity. Fifty percent of the space organization’s latest class were women, some of whom may be selected for the first planned trip to Mars. Anne McClain, 36, who could be on the mission, told Glamour, "From space, you can't see borders. What you see is this lonely planet. Here we all are on it, so angry at one another. I wish more people could step back and see how small Earth is and how reliant we are on one another."
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Photo: Getty Images.
1917: International Women's Day

In the last decade, women around the world have taken to the streets to protest discrimination and injustice. In India, people turned out en masse, horrified by the gang rape of a Delhi woman, who died from the injuries she sustained in the attack. And women publicly objected to the killing of Farkhunda Malikzada, an Afghan woman who was beaten, murdered, and burned by a mob, after being falsely accused of burning a Quran. Take Back the Night marches, organized to raise awareness about sexual violence, have been running strong since the 1970s.

Throughout history, women have changed their standings in society and helped lead global revolutions. It was almost 100 years ago in 1917 when Russian women started to strike for "bread and peace" to protest the deaths of millions of soldiers in World War I. They marched on the last Sunday of February — which was March 8 on the Gregorian calendar. Within four days, the Czar abdicated. So yearly, on that March date, now known as International Women's Day, women around the world celebrate women's achievements and call for an end to gender discrimination.

This year on March 8, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he remained "outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls," but that he took heart "from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society's advancement."

Russian women march with a banner that reads, "Comrade workers and soldiers, support our demands" in 1917.
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Photo: UI/REX/Shutterstock.
1903: Marie Curie Wins Her First Nobel Prize

Polish-born Marie Curie, along with her husband Pierre Curie, made some of the most meaningful contributions to science. For her groundbreaking discoveries of polonium and radium, she won two Nobel Prizes, the first in 1903, and the second in 1911. Curie, described in an obituary as "modest, self-effacing," and "disdaining [of] all pomp," has the distinction of being the only woman to have been awarded the prize twice.

The efforts of Curie, born in 1867, were critical to the development of X-rays, and during WWI, she ran a Red Cross radiology unit. More than a few educational institutes and medical facilities bear the Curie name, and she undoubtedly paved the way for other women in science. Yet today, worldwide, women account for just 28.4% of researchers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, according to the Association of Women in Science.

In 2015, Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prize winner, said the problem with "girls" in science is, "Three things happen when they are in the lab…You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry." Thankfully, in a rebuttal of sorts, women around the world are — and have been — making groundbreaking discoveries, like those of virologist Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who realized HIV caused AIDS, and biologist Gail Martin, the first scientist to isolate embryonic stem cells, for example.
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Photo: Lipnitzki/Getty Images.
1926: The Little Black Dress

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, one of the greatest couturiers who would go on to command the fashion world, opened her first shop in Paris in 1913. Chanel, a poor child raised from a young age in a convent, has been credited with freeing women of their corsets. She opted to design simple and practical clothes made of jersey.

In 1926, Vogue compared one of her creations, Chanel’s "little black dress," to the Ford, saying it would "become sort of a uniform for all women of taste." At the peak of Chanel's success, she was running her fashion house, a textile business, a costume jewelry production workshop, and a perfume lab, employing 3,500 people, according to The New York Times.

Today, people might know her more for her perfume, the iconic "Chanel No. 5," which made her a millionaire. Following Chanel's death in 1971, Karl Lagerfeld eventually took over her design and ready-to-wear lines.

Women are still represented well in the fashion world. Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, wields considerable power, as do designers Tory Burch, and Diane von Furstenberg, best known for her body-hugging wrap.

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