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Follow the timeline from the resurgence of the feminist movement in the 1960s through the end of the 20th century. Travel through four decades of feminism's Second Wave, during which Jewish feminists worked to transform American society and Jewish life in America. Learn about historic moments and events in the feminist revolution from the personal artifacts and stories of key activists.

1963 – 1969


Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique


Passage of Civil Rights Act creates EEOC

Civil rights volunteers go to Mississippi for Freedom Summer and bring home strategies for social change


National Organization for Women (NOW) Participants, 1966

Founding of NOW


First women’s liberation groups - The Westside Group and New York Radical Women - form in Chicago and New York

New York Radical Women develop analytic method they call “consciousness-raising


Young feminists protest the Miss America Pageant’s objectification of women


"After Black Power, Women's Liberation" by Gloria Steinem, New York Magazine, April 7, 1969

First “speak out” on abortion

Letter from Barbara Seaman to Senator Gaylord Nelson, September 23, 1969

Barbara Seaman writes letter to Senator Gaylord Nelson about dangers of birth control pill, leads to Senate hearings in 1970

1969 – 1972


A Marriage Agreement by Alix Kates Shulman, 1970

Alix Kates Shulman publishes a feminist “Marriage Agreement”

"Women Criticize Psychology Unit" New York Times, September 6, 1970

Phyllis Chesler demands reparations for women from American Psychological Association

"Women and Their Bodies" Coursebook, 1970

First printing of Women and Their Bodies (later editions become Our Bodies, Ourselves)

Congress passes Equal Rights Amendment and sends it to states for ratification

1972 – 1973

Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendment.

Rabbi Sally Priesand's Ordination, 1973

Sally Priesand is ordained as first woman rabbi in America

Debbie Friedman releases her first album, Sing Unto God

1973 – 1976


Supreme Court legalizes abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision


National Conference on Jewish Women & Men Poster, 1974

National Conference on Jewish Women and Men held in New York City

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi.


"Against Our Will" Book Party Photo, 1975

Susan Brownmiller publishes Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape

UN holds first World Conference on Women in Mexico City

1976 – 1980

One is the Presence in our Midst Haggadah

E.M. Broner “Seder Sisters” hold their first feminist seder in New York City


Founding of Drisha Institute, first center for women’s advanced study of classical Jewish texts

Blu Greenberg publishes On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition

1981 – 1984

Rivington Street by Meredith Tax

Meredith Tax captures Jewish women’s labor activism in her novel, Rivington Street

Ratification period for ERA ends and the ERA expires, three states short of ratification

Deena Metzger as the Warrior Poster

Deena Metzger and Hella Hamid celebrate the beauty of a one-breasted woman in the “Warrior” photograph


Letter from Jack Epstein to Susannah Heschel, March 26, 1984

Susannah Heschel publishes On Being a Jewish Feminist


"We All Stood Together," by Merle Feld & Laura Lazar Siegel

Merle Feld writes poem imagining women’s experience at Sinai

1984 – 1988


"The Creation" from the "Birth Project," by Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago imagines the birth experience in the Birth Project

Marcia Falk rewrites Hebrew prayers to reflect feminist images of God


Madeleine Kunin's First Inauguration Suit, Worn January 10, 1985

Madeleine Kunin becomes the first Jewish woman governor in America

Amy Eilberg at her Ordination, 1985

Amy Eilberg is ordained as the first female Conservative rabbi

Books Published by Evelyn Fox Keller

Evelyn Fox Keller publishes Reflections on Gender and Science


Savina Teubal and Debbie Friedman, 1986

Savina Teubal creates Simchat Hochmah, a Jewish women’s eldering ceremony


Marcia Cohn Spiegel gives a keynote lecture on “The Changing Jewish Family” at New Jewish Agenda conference

1990 – 1993

Standing Again at Sinai by Judith Plaskow

Judith Plaskow publishes Standing Again at Sinai, first book on Jewish feminist theology


Reporter Nina Totenberg breaks story of Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, sparking three days of Senate hearings

Sharon Kleinbaum becomes Senior Rabbi of New York City’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the world’s largest gay and lesbian synagogue


Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sworn in to Supreme Court, 1993

Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the US Supreme Court

1995 – 1996


Syrian Woman by Judith Helfand

Dianne Cohler-Esses becomes the first woman rabbi from Syrian community

Joan Snyder's Our Foremothers, 1995

Joan Snyder creates the lithograph “Our Foremothers” for The Jewish Museum’s annual New Year’s graphic

Helene Aylon's Self Portrait, 2004

Helène Aylon calls attention to human interpretations of God in her art installation “The Liberation of G-d

1997 – 1999


V-Day Public Service Announcement featuring Gloria Steinem

Eve Ensler wins an Obie award for The Vagina Monologues

Ruth Messinger's Mayoral Campaign Poster, 1997

Ruth Messinger runs for Mayor of New York City


"The Art of Blessing the Day," by Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy publishes The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme

Preview Issue of "Ms." Magazine Front Cover, Spring 1972
Full image

The preview issue of Ms. magazine, issued in Spring 1972.

Copyright 1972 Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Timeline." (Viewed on February 20, 2019) <>.


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