the kfw


KFW staff put together this feminist art and activist timeline, but this is just the beginning! Please email the KFW Team ( if you have suggestions for local, state, or national feminist art and activist accomplishments to be considered for inclusion.

Color Coding:

Green = KFW Organizational History
Purple = Projects involving KFW Grantees, Staff, or Founder
Blue = Political Feminist Achievements
Orange = Art Exhibitions
Black = National feminist art/activist events

1848 The first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls
1896 The National Association of Colored Women is formed
1916 Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, NY
1920 The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is passed, giving women the right to vote
1935 Dorothea Lange starts photographing the Great Depression
Mary McLeod Bethune organizes the National Council of Negro Women
1945 Jean Ritchie has her first public performance
1950 Gwendolyn Brooks becomes first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry Annie Allen
1955 Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the US, is founded
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus and her arrest spurs the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Marian Anderson is the first African American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera
1960 Birth Control Pills become FDA approved
1961 President Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman.
1963 Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.
Congress passes The Equal Pay Act
1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex.
Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Republican Senator becomes the first woman to earn a US Presidential nomination.
1965 Women Artists of America, 1707-1964 exhibition opens at the Newark Museum, New Jersey
1966 The National Organization for Women is founded
1967 President Johnson’s Executive Order 11375 outlaws employment discrimination based on sex by the federal government
New York Radical Women’s group forms as an influential feminist political organization that pioneers “consciousness raising” methods to promote the women’s movement
1968 Adrian Piper begins exhibiting her work as a conceptual artist
Valerie Solanas self-publishes S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto under several titles in various publications.
New York Radical Women protest the Miss America contest
Women’s Equity Action League (WEAL) is established as an alternative to the National Organization for Women (NOW)
1969 The radical feminist group, Redstockings, forms to raise consciousness about sexism and abortion
The National Women’s Hall of Fame opens in Seneca Falls, NY
The Stonewall Rebellion in NY starts the Gay Rights Movement
1970 Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics published in the U.S.
X-12, The Pioneer Feminist Art Exhibition , organized by 12 women artists opens at Museum in New York City.
Feminist news journal Off Our Backs publishes its first issue
Faith and Michele Ringgold form the group Women Students and Artistis for Black Art Liberation (WSABAL).
Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement , edited by Robin Morgan, is published.
Shulamith Firestone publishes The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.
The Ad Hoc Women Artists’ Committee in New York is formed and ultimately begins the Women’s Artist Registry.
The Feminist Press is founded and publishes the journal Women’s Studies Quarterly.
Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch published
Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women , is published by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective
1971 Ms. Magazine is first published as a sample insert in New York magazine
Linda Nochlin’s renowned essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” is first published in ARTnews magazine.
Women and Art Quarterly begins publication in New York.
The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is founded by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug
The Where We At: Black Women Artists exhibition is held at the Acts of Art Galleries in New York.
26 Contemporary Women Artists is exhibited at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Connecticut
Everywoman magazine publishes a special issue discussing “Judy Chicago and the California Girls,” which included articles on “inner space” imagery by Judy Chicago Miriam Shapiro, and Faith Wilding
The Los Angeles Council of Women Artists (LACWA) protest and speak out to press about the omission of women artists from the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art’s exhibition Art and Technology.
Linda Noclin and Thomas Hess edit Women as Sex Object: Studies in Erotic Art, 1730-1970.
Joan Snyder begins the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series of exhibitions at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library at Rutgers University. It is the longest running, continuing exhibition program commited to showcasing women artists in America
1972 Equal Rights Amendment is passed by Congress
Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in public schools
The Womanhouse installation is created by 21 students of the Feminist Art Program at CalArts with the supervision of Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. holds the Conference of Women in the Visual Arts.
Alma Thomas is the first African American female artist to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The exhibition Invisible/Visible:21 opens at the Long Beach Museum of Art
The Feminist Art Journal is founded by Cindy Nemser, Patricia Mainardi, and Irene Moss. It runs through 1977.
The West Coast Women Artists’ Conference convenes at Womanhouse in L.A. and facilitates the development of the West End Bag (WEB) into a national and international network of women artists
The Chicano artists organization ASCO, protests the omission of Latino/a artists from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s collection.
Feminist Studies , a scholarly and activist journal begins publication, edited by Ann Calderwood.
Women Make Movies is founded in New York to address the scarcity of women in the film industry and the stereotypical representation of women promoted by the media.
The Women’s Caucus for Art is founded at the College Art Association’s meeting in San Francisco with Ann Sutherland as the president.
The first artist run, cooperative, non profit gallery exhibiting women artists in America, the AIR Gallery in New York, is established.
1973 Roe v Wade establishes a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion
Women in the Arts is founded by Cynthia Navaretta and Ce Roser to protest art galleries that fail to exhibit works by women artists.
The exhibition Women Chose Women, organized by the group Women in the Arts (WIA) is shown at the New York Cultural Center
Helen Reddy wins a Grammy Award for her hit I Am Woman. It is the first specifically feminist song to become a gold record.
Lesbian Nation , a compilation of Jill Johnston’s essays, argues for a radical, lesbian feminism separate from the gay rights movement. This becomes a key text for the emerging lesbian movement.
Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in a match dubbed “Battle of the Sexes.” The televised victory was an important milestone in women’s sports
Artemisia Gallery and the ARC Gallery opens in Chicago
The Feminist Studio Workshop is founded by Judy Chicago, Sheila de Bretteville, and Arlene Raven.
Womanspace , the first female West coast cooperative gallery, opens.
1974 The Lesbian Herstory Archives is founded in New York City by Joan Nestle and Deborah Edel
Quest: A Feminist Quarterly begins publication
Hera Women’s Cooperative Art Center and Gallery opens in Wakefield, RI.
The Women/Artist/Filmmakers, Inc. organization is formed. It becomes the first women only organization to receive funding to make films as art.
In Her Own Image: A Group Exhibition opens in Philadelphia. It is part of the Philadelphia Focus on Women in the Visual Arts (FOCUS) project.
SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society begins publication
1975 Cindy Nemser publishes Art Talk: Conversations with Twelve Women Artists
In her famous essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, Laura Mulvey pioneers the study of the male gaze
The United Nations World Conference on International Women’s Year convenes in Mexico City, with 125 nations represented.
Women admitted to the military academies for the first time.
In Laura Mulvey’s famous essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Mulvey pioneers the study of the male gaze.
Susan Brownmiller publishes Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. She is the first to use the term “date rape.”
1976 The first marital rape law is enacted in Nebraska
The Institute for Research on Women (IRW) is founded at Douglass College, Rutgers University. The IRW becomes a prominent leader in research on feminism and gender.
Barbara Walters becomes the first woman newscaster on U.S. network television
Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) is formed in Los Angeles, CA. It’s first well documented action is a protest against Rolling Stone’s “Black and Blue” album covert art.
Art Journal dedicates an entire issue to women in art. It includes, Mary Garrard, Lucy Lippard, and Susan Fillin Yeh, among others.
The Jewish and Feminist journal Lilith is founded and beings publication
Barbara Jordan, the first woman elected to congress form the deep south, becomes the first woman and first African American to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
The quarterly journal Black Art begins publication, edited by Val Spaulding
Lucy Lippard publishes From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women’s Art
1977 Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics begins publication.
The exhibition Women Artists: 1550-1950, curated by Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris, opens at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
What is Feminist Art? Exhibition opens at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles
Arlene Raven begins to develop the Lesbian Art Project to encourage work by lesbian artists
The Coalition of Women’s Arts Organizations (CWAO) is formed by a group of East Coast women in the arts, with Judith Brodsky serving as its first president
MUSE opens as a women’s community center and cooperative gallery in Philadelphia, PA.
Joan Semmel curates the exhibition Contemporary Women: Consciousness and Content at Brooklyn Museum Art School
1978 The Sister Chapel, a cooperative work conceived by Ilise Greenstein is exhibited in Long Island City. The work presents a female account of the creation story.
The exhibition A Lesbian Show, curated by Harmony Hammond opens
Elsa Honig Fine publishes Women and Art: A History of Women Painters and Sculptors from the Renaissance to the 20th Century.
  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amends Title VII making it unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
One of the first Take Back the Night rallies organized to protest pornography and violence against women takes place in San Francisco.
1979 President Jimmy Carter gives honorary awards to renowned artists Isabel Bishop, Selma Burke, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O’Keeffe at the Women’s Caucus for Art convention in Washington D.C.
Judy Chicago publishes The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage.
The exhibition The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago premiers.
The New York Feminist Art Institute is founded by Miriam Shapiro.
More than 100,000 people participate in the first national march for gay and lesbian rights in Washington, D.C.
Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
1981 Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed as the first woman to the Supreme Court
British feminist art historian Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock publish Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. The book criticizes feminist artists’ use of sexual imagery and stereotypically feminine crafts.
bell hooks publishes Ain’t I a Woman:Black Women and Feminism. Arguing for inclusive feminism, the book influences the feminist movement in the 1980s
Betty Friedan’s The Second Stage is published, emphasizing that the women’s movement should work together with men to achieve political, economic, and social equality
Former First Ladies Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson and NOW president Ellie Smeal speak to a lively crowd of 3000 at the “Call to the Nation’s Conscience” Equal Rights Amendment rally.
1982 The Equal Rights Amendment, which previously passed the Senate in 1972, is defeated 10 years later. ERA, which would have given women the same rights as men, is only ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed to pass an amendment
1983 Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology , edited by Barbara Smith is published as a key text on black lesbian feminist thought.
Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory is launched.
Columbia College, the last US all male Ivy League college admits women to its freshman class for the first time in its
229 year history.
Vanessa Williams becomes the first African American Miss America.
1984 Audre Lorde addresses issues of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and what it means to be an outsider in her book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches.
Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to be nominated for vice president
Eleanor Smeal, along with Kathy Bonk and Toni Carabillo co-author Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President.
1985 KFW founded
Guerilla Girls founded
EMILY’s (Early Money Is Like Yeast) List is established to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office in the 1986 election.
1986 NOW coordinates the March for Women’s Lives, for the purpose of keeping abortion and birth control legal. With 125,000 participants, it is the largest march for women’s rights in the US
The 3rd edition of H.W. Janson’s History of Art, a standard art history textbook, includes women artists for the first time, adding 19 to the nearly 2300 artists
1987 KFW purchases Hopscotch House property
Women’s History Month established
National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights, with 600,000 participants
National Museum for Women in the Arts opens in Washington, DC
Eleanor Smeal founds the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF)
Autobiography: In Her Own Image , a major exhibition features women artists of color and is curated by Howardena Pindell
1988 Nochlin’s Women, Art and Power and Other Essays is published
Griselda Pollock examines the sexual politics of modern art in her book Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art
1989 Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream 1970-85 exhibition, curated by Randy Rosen and Catherine Brawer
National March for Abortion Rights
1990 Chadwick’s Women, Art and Society published
Judith Bulter publishes Gender Trouble
Dr. Antonia Novello is sworn in as the first female US Surgeon General
Artist Jenny Holzer is the first woman to be the sole participant in the United States paviolion at the Venice Biennale. She wins the Leone d’Oro award for best pavilion.
1991 Women Writing for (a) Change founded in Cincinnati
Anita Hill Testimony
Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women is published in the US
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi is published as a study of antifeminism in the media.
1992 Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) formed
Veteran Feminists of America formed
Lesbian Avengers founded
Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirms legal abortion under Roe v Wade
Ms. Foundation founds the first Take Our Daughters to Work Day
Carol Moseley Braun becomes the first African American woman to be elected to the US Senate
1993 Sallie Bingham endows Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University
National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights
Toni Morrison wins Nobel Prize for Literature
The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact , edited by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard
Janet Reno is sworn in as the first female US Attorney General
Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the second female member of the US Supreme Court
1994 Bad Girls exhibition curated by Marcia Tucker
Broude and Garrard’s The Power of Feminist Art published
The Violence Against Women Act provides services for abuse victims.
1995 Pleiades Theater Co-Women’s Theater is founded
The Bronx Museum of the Arts sponsors Division of Labor: Women’s Work in Contemporary Art, 1970-1995
Elizabeth Wurtzel publishes “Prozac Nation”
1996 “Grassroots Women Present” – statewide feminist concert series with local producers collaboration
The Vagina Monologues premieres
Project Women begins serving single mothers seeking baccalaureate degrees
In United States v Virginia, the court rules that the all-male Virginia Military School has to admit women.
UCLA’s Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center presents the exhibition Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party in Feminist Art History, curated by Amelia Jones
1997 Women in United States Cabinet at all-time high
Madeleine Albright is sworn in as the first female US Secretary of State
The first season of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) begins
1998 Arts Council of Louisville founded
F-Word Symposium to address feminist art legacies and strategies for the future
Laura Cottingham’s video chronicling the history of the American feminist art movement, Not for Sale: Feminism and Art in the USA during the 1970s premiers
Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation is the first exhibition to include the self portraits or self-presentations of three generations of women surrealist or surrealist-influenced artists
1999 ENID: Generations of Women Sculptors formed
Shirin Neshat wins the International Award of the XLVIII Biennial of Venice for her photographs
Site Santa Fe, a biennial art exhibition in Santa Fe, NM is curated by a woman, Rosa Martinez, for the first time.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles hosts a Barbara Kruger retrospective, the first comprehensive overview of the artist’s work
2000 “Voices,” a theatrical presentation by residents of the Center for Women and Families led by Kathi Ellis and Nancy Gall Clayton
The Women’s Museum opens
Vermont legalizes Same-Sex Civil Unions
Harmony Hammond’s Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History is published
The FDA approves the abortion drug, mifepristone(RU-486)
The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future opens in Dallas, TX
Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards co-author Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, which discusses the third wave of feminism
2001 KFW launches Art Meets Activism Grant Program
Liz Fentress’ Circus Story at Horse Cave Theater
Feminist Peace Network is formed
First female minority whip, Nancy Pelosi, is elected
Condoleezza Rice becomes the first woman to serve as US National Security Advisor
2002 Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party exhibited at Brooklyn Museum Personal and Political exhibition
Halle Berry becomes the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role
White Columns in New York presents Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art in the 1970s
Nancy Pelosi is elected as the first Democratic Minority Leader
2003 Pleiades Theater Company Women Directors Workshop
Coco Fusco’s Incredible Disappearing Woman exhibition
Supreme Court rules on the University of Michigan, voting to uphold the right of affirmative action in higher education
Lee Bontecou, the most comprehensive exhibition of Bontecou’s work is exhibited in Chicago and then travels to New York.
2004 Pleiades Theater Company Intern Program
Herstory Productions – Megan Burnett tours Shame the Devil: An Audience with Fanny Kemble
Sophia Coppola becomes first American women to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director; she wins Award for Best Original Screenplay
Project Women begins Women of Wisdom art exhibition
Same-sex marriage legalized in Massachusetts
2005 Strength Within -a Center for Women and Families public performance led by Kathi Ellis and Nancy Gall Clayton
The Feminist Art Project founded
A painting by Marlene Dumas breaks the record for the highest price of a work by a living female artist at auction
First Female Curators of Venice Biennale
2006 KY Women Photographers Network Launched
Kentucky Women’s Book Festival
How American Women Artists Invented Postmodernism is exhibited
Wild Girls exhibition
The Institute for Women and Art founded
Rosa Lee produces her second one woman show titled, “R”
The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA presents The “F” Word exhibition
2007 Female Mechanics Calendar 2007
Mountain/No Mountain exhibitions
The Kentucky Girlhood Project
Women Writing for (a) Change branch opens in Louisville
Reel World String Band celebrates 30 years of playing feminist hillbilly music
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art opens at Brooklyn Museum
Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York presents Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity
Number of women senators in the U.S. Senate is at an all-time high
Art historian Cindy Nemser curates Women’s Work: Homage to Feminist Art at Brooklyn’s Tabla Rasa Gallery
First female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is sworn in
Take 2: Women Revisiting Art History is presented at the Mills College Art Museum
The Museum of Modern Art in New York hosts The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles
From the Inside Out: Feminist Art Then & Now exhibition
Multiple Vantage Points : Southern California Women Artists, 1980-2006 exhibition. It includes performance work as well as traditional and new media processes
Global Feminisms , an international exhibition of contemporary feminist art, is presented at the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Claiming Space: The American Feminist Originators presents 40 large-scale works and installations from the 1970s by 20 founders of the Feminist Art Movement in the US
2008 KFW Hot Flash Fan on display in Huff Gallery at Spalding University
Trish Ayers named one of Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things in new book by Wind Publications
Jane Vance named poet laureate of KY (2007-2008)
Kim Edwards’ Memory Keeper’s Daughter broadcast on Lifetime Network
2009 Lorna Littleway honored by Presentation Academy in Louisville as one of six women to receive the 2009 Tower Awards for Women Leaders.
Nickole Brown receives $25,000 writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Laura Eklund represents the United States in the 2009 Florence Biennial and participates in the International Emerging Artist’s Show in New York City.
The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington wins the national 2009 Metlife Innovative Space Award
Amanda Johnston, founding publisher of Torch, honored by Cave Canem for the success of her on-line journal dedicated to showcasing work by emerging and established black women writers.
Elizabeth Alexander chosen as Presidential inauguration poet
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009 is signed into law, upholding the 1964 Civil Rights Act and allowing women to seek equal pay compensation 180 days after any discriminatory paycheck, not only 180 days after the initial discriminatory pay decision.
2010 25th Year Anniversary Celebration of KFW Founding
Diane Deaton-Street photograph selected for Oxford American Magazine’s Best of the South Issue
Nancy Kelly Allen’s Trouble in Troublesome Creek selected to represent Kentucky in the The Pavilion of the States at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C
Verna Mae Slone of Pippa Passes, author of What My Heart Wants to Tell, honored by KY Commission on Women Kentucky Women Remembered project.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York features exhibit, Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography through 2011
The Centre Pompidou in France exhibits ELLES@CENTREPOMPIDOU: Women Artists in the Collections of the National Modern Art Museum, the first exhibit entirely composed of women artists from its own collections.

Sources: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S. by Ann-Marie Imbornoni