10 Women’s Rights Successes of 2015

With this year’s fiascoes facing women’s rights, like the push to defund Planned Parenthood, we need a few silver linings to sleep at night. Here are 10 women’s rights success of 2015 in no particular order.

1. The Supreme Court ruled that employers can’t discriminate against pregnant workers.

This March, the Court put pregnancy under the same protected class that includes people with disabilities or injuries. Although the lawsuit that sparked the ruling can now be re-litigated, the decision pushes employers to accommodate pregnant workers or risk a lawsuit. Now that’s something people on both sides of the abortion debate can agree on.

2. Women can now serve in all branches of the military.

Two women became the first women ever to graduate from the prestigious Army Ranger School this year. Earlier this month U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that women are now allowed to participate in the 220,000 roles they were previously banned from, like special operations and infantry. While backlash has been disheartening—a study shows that at least 70 percent of special ops member are against the integration—it’s nice to see the military move forward in letting women get ahead on their own merits.

3. California became the first state to put out guidelines for handling sexual assault on campus.

As the spotlight continues on campus sexual assault, California issued the first guidelines in the country detailing how colleges can handle the violence better. May’s landmark rules include focusing on victims needs and coordinating with groups off-campus, priorities that have often been overlooked in the past.

4. A woman finally took the helm at Sandia National Laboratories.

This summer, Jill M. Hruby became the first-ever female president of the New Mexico lab, which is the largest national security lab in the U.S. The numbers of women in science, math, engineering and technology fields are still paltry, but small advances like Hruby’s prove we’re moving forward.

5. The White House reinstated birth control access for working women with health insurance.

After the Supreme Court ruled that employers like Hobby Lobby don’t have to cover contraceptives in their insurance programs, the White House guaranteed workers who worked for for-profit companies access to birth control. Experts estimate that the Affordable Care Act’s coverage has saved women more than $1.4 billion in costs.

6. Oregon made getting birth control easier for women by letting pharmacies dispense contraceptives in a full-year supply.

Usually, women can get birth control only in 30 or 90 day packs, Care2 notes. Gov. Kate Brown signed a measure this summer that removes that challenge, saying that it was a “simple premise that I whole-heartedly believe in.”

7. The U.S. Treasury decided to put a woman on the $10 bill.

For the first time in more than a century, a woman is going to be the face on U.S. paper currency. The honoree is still yet to be determined, as the public swamped the Treasury with suggestions, but as Care2 notes, she’ll probably share the honor with Alexander Hamilton.

8. Nepal joined the countries that elected a woman for president.

Right now, 29 of the world’s 195 countries have a leader who’s a woman. In the U.S., numbers of women are higher than ever before in Congress—we can only move up from the current 20 percent, right? Also two women total are major candidates for president. Don’t be upset by the slow progress; social change moves like molasses.

9. The UK introduced a new rule to call attention to the gender pay gap.

The country now requires companies to publish what they pay men and women, including bonuses. The pay gap persists across the world, including in the U.S. where women get paid 77 cents to every man’s dollar. This gap increases even further with age and racial disparities, so hat tip to the U.K. for not sweeping it under the rug.

10. The first openly transgender woman of color ever takes her post at a job in the White House.

During the year the country marveled at the coming-out of Caitlyn Jenner and saw advances for transgender populations, which are far-too-often marginalized. With transgender women of color suffering the most, President Obama’s appointment of Raffi Freedman-Gurspan in the Presidential Personnel Office a few months ago is monumental.

Photo Credit: UN Women


Anna R
Anna R4 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga3 years ago


Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

Good news, but Natasha is right.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

These make me more sad than anything angry actually that each is considered a victory when really all should not be newsworthy but just normal.

Nimue Pendragon

Good news :)

Agnieszka Marszalek

It's good to balance some of the negative news with the positive. Thanks for sharing.

Cynthia Brickner
Cindy Brickner3 years ago

This is very positive news! I much prefer these uplifting articles to the negative things we hear and read every day. Thank you for bringing these facts to the attention of the Care2 community!