2020: A Feminist Year in Review
2020 was a year of change. Although filled with turbulence and struggle, this year included a wide array of feminist victories that protected and promoted reproductive freedom, equal rights, and racial justice. Starting in January with Virginia’s ratification of the ERA after one hundred years of fighting for its inclusion in the Constitution and ending with the election of the first female, Black, and Asian American vice president, this year reminds us that our work is powerful. These strides in the fight for equality reflect the importance of persisting in the face of adversity. NOW is grateful for all the work our grassroots partners have done in helping promote feminism across the country. Here are just some of the accomplishments we look forward to building on in 2021:
- In January 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The resolution was carried by two Virginia-NOW endorsed state legislators.
- A record number of female candidates entered the running for president.
- The House of Representatives passed legislation to create a Smithsonian women’s history museum.
- Virginia became the first southern state to pass an LGBTQIA+ protection bill with the Values Act.
- The House passed a resolution to remove the ERA’s ratification deadline.
- The Black Maternal Health Omnibus Act of 2020, a sweeping act advancing healthcare for Black mothers, was introduced in the House.
- Katie Sowers became the first woman and openly gay coach at the Superbowl.
- Women senators from both sides of the aisle in Utah walked-out on an anti-abortion bill, preventing the bill from passing.
- The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma successfully prevented the state of Oklahoma from using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to block abortion access.
- A record number of women entered the running for U.S. House seats.
- Protests began in the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Black lives, beginning the largest social movement in U.S. History.
- Ella Jones became the first Black Mayor of Ferguson, Missouri.
- The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed the House.
- Breonna’s Law, named after Breonna Taylor, passed, banning No-Knock Warrants in Louisville, Kentucky.
- The Supreme Court blocked the Trump Administration from ending DACA.
- NASA renames its headquarters after the first African American woman engineer, Mary W. Jackson.
- The Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana Abortion bill with June Medical Services v. Russo.
- Members of the LGBTQIA+ community became officially protected from being fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity with a history-making Supreme Court decision.
- In a joint statement, NOW along with Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ultraviolet Action, National Women’s Law Center Action Fund, Population Connection Action Fund, and All* Above All Action Fund published the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice.
- The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana struck down an Indiana law that required physicians, hospitals, and abortion clinics to report cases involving abortion complications.
- After facing widespread pressure, the Washington Football Team severed their previously racist name.
- Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act to repeal the Helms Amendment, which bans the use of any U.S. foreign assistance funds for abortion.
- NOW and feminists across the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
- NOW hosted the first day of our first ever virtual conference “Fired Up! Ready to Vote!” where nearly one thousand activists participated throughout the weekends’ events.
- The House passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act by a vote of 329-73.
- The House passed the CROWN Act of 2020 which prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.
- NOW hosts Day two of our “Fired Up! Ready to Vote!” conference.
- The Fifth Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Texas law requiring a burial or cremation of fetal tissue following a miscarriage or abortion violates the 14th Amendment, overturning the law and further protecting abortion access in the state.
- Savanna’s Act, which aims to put an end to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis, was signed into law.
- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the 2020 election. Harris made history as the first female, Black, and Asian American vice-president-elect.
- A total of 110 NOW PAC -endorsed candidates from 22 states and the District of Columbia won their general election races. To see a full list of our winning feminist candidates, click here.
- Record numbers of women who ran for office this year. Some notable numbers include:
- 297 women won U.S. House nominations. This is an increase from the 2018 record of 234.
- 248 women of color ran for the U.S. House in 2020.
- 18 women of color ran for the U.S. Senate, beating previous records since at least 2004.
- The election saw a Rainbow Wave, as a record number of LGBTQIA+ candidates ran and won their elections. Similarly, a record number of Native lawmakers won seats across the country.
- Sarah McBride became the country’s highest-ranking transgender official and the first transgender state senator after winning her race for Delaware’s 1st state Senate district.
- Multiple states elected their first LGBTQIA+ members in their state legislatures including Kim Jackson in the Georgia State Senate, Sam Park in the Georgia House, Shevrin Jones in the Florida State Senate, Torrey Harris in the Tennessee state legislature, and Greg Razer in the Missouri State Senate.
- Several states elected their first queer legislators of color to their state legislature including Jabari Brisport in New York and Tiara Mack in Rhode Island. Similarly, Florida elected their first Black queer woman, Michele Raynor, to the state legislature.
- Mondaire Jones (NY-17) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) will become the first Black LGBTQIA+ members of Congress. Torres is also the first Afro-Latinx gay congressman.
- Stephanie Byers won her race for the Kansas House of Representatives. She is the first transgender elected official in the state and is the first indigenous trans person elected to any state legislature. Vermont also elected its first transgender legislator, Taylor Small.
- A record-breaking six Native American candidates were elected to the House of Representatives: Sharice Davids (D-KS), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), Tom Cole (R-OK), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Deb Haaland (D-NM), and Yvette Herrell (R-NM).
- Colorado voted against a 22-week abortion ban, democratically protecting a women’s right to choose in the state.
- The forthcoming Biden-Harris Administration appointed an all women Senior Communications Team, the first-ever in history.
- Biden-Harris also moved to appoint the first woman Secretary of the Treasury with Janet Yellen, the first woman Director of National Intelligence with Avril Haines, and the first woman of color as the Director of Office Management with Neera Tanden.
As we grow closer to the beginning of a new and history-making administration, one that aims to undo the damage done during the past four years, we can only expect to see more feminist victories won. While we made strides in terms of the Equal Rights Amendment, the advancement of LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice legislation, putting an end to violence against women, and more, there is still work to be done. NOW will continue to advocate for our six core issues and build off the victories we’ve made this year. We may still face an uphill battle, but as we enter a new year with 2021, we will continue to mobilize for our intersectional feminist agenda.