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Diversity Timeline
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timeline 1971-1986


1971

In Alaska and Montana, women are paid for the first time since World War II for fire suppression work. All-women crews work with excellent reviews, but they are subsequently terminated in favor of co-ed crews.

1972

Title IX of the Education Amendment prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive federal assistance.

1973

The Civil Service Commission eliminates height and weight requirements, which have discriminated against women applying for police, park service and firefighting jobs. Congress passes section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act barring discrimination against disabled people under any program or activity receiving federal funds.

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court strikes down most states' restrictive abortion laws, greatly expanding a woman's right to legal abortion.

1975

President Ford signs law admitting women to military academies. The American Medical Association calls for the repeal of all state laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1976

Title IX goes into effect, opening the way for women's increased participation in athletics programs and professional schools, whereupon enrollments leap in both categories. In Pennsylvania, Toni McIntosh is hired by the Fire Department and becomes the first African American woman to become a career firefighter.

1978

In the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case, the Supreme Court upholds affirmative action principles but rejects fixed racial quotas as unconstitutional. Bakke had been denied a slot in medical school and claimed to be a victim of reverse discrimination when a minority student with lower test scores gained admission through affirmative action. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban employment discrimination against pregnant women.

1981

Sandra Day O'Connor is the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1993, she is joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The first news reports of what will become the AIDS epidemic are published.

1982

The Equal Rights Amendment, which would have written into the Constitution equal pay for equal work, a guarantee of social opportunity and a ban on sexual bias, falls three states short of ratification. The Supreme Court rules that children of undocumented immigrants have a right to free public schooling.

1984

Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman vice-presidential candidate of a major political party (Democratic). The Supreme Court holds that states have the right to outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1986

The Supreme Court declares that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination. Coined in 1975, the term sexual harassment is defined as "uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at an employee because of his or her sex."

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