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  • Women are living longer thanks to advances in medical science, nutrition and sanitation. At the beginning of the century the median age of women (the point at which half are younger and half older) was just above 22 years. Now it is almost 37 years – the highest level in history.
  • The maternal mortality rate has plummeted. The rate dropped from 799 (per 100,000 live births) in 1920 to 7 in 1998.
  • The death rate of children under 1 year of age decreased more than 95 percent.
  • The infant mortality rate declined almost 93 percent.
  • Women now earn more than 41 percent of the degrees in Medicine and nearly 44 percent of the degrees in Law.
  • More women are leaving their jobs to stay home and raise their children.
  • The gap between median earnings of women and men who work year-round, full-time has narrowed substantially. The ratio now stands at 74 percent.
  • The 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote in 1920.
  • More women are serving in public office. Thirty-three women have served or are currently serving in the Senate and 185 women have served or are currently serving in the House of Representatives.
  • The first woman was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, Justice Sandra Day O’Conner.

*Note: all items taken from BLI’s ‘Gaining Ground Report: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century.

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