Women's Rights

Attorney, author, scholar and reverend Pauli Murray, pictured here on December 22, 1976

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Trailblazing, Multifaceted Activism of Lawyer-Turned-Priest Pauli Murray

New documentary tells the story of a Black and LGBTQ thinker who helped lay the legal groundwork for fighting gender- and race-based discrimination

Nobel award recipients are overwhelmingly white, male, and American, and this year was no exception.

No Nobel Prizes in Science Went to Women This Year, Widening the Awards' Gender Gap

Fewer than three percent of Nobel science winners are women, and only one woman of color has ever received the award

Mary Ware Dennett wrote The Sex Side of Life in 1915 as a teaching tool for her teenage sons.

The Sex Education Pamphlet That Sparked a Landmark Censorship Case

Women's rights activist Mary Ware Dennett was arrested in 1929 for mailing a booklet deemed "obscene, lewd or lascivious"

Del Martin, left, and Phyllis Lyon were officially wed June 16, 2008 in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after legalization.

The Incredible Story of Lesbian Activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

After first meeting in 1950, the couple was instrumental in founding the nation’s first organization for gay women

The statue is finally being unveiled this week after a seven-year fundraising effort and a three-year construction effort.

Women Who Shaped History

Chicago's First Monument to a Black Woman Will Commemorate Activist Ida B. Wells

Sculptor Richard Hunt designed the statue, which is called 'Light of Truth'

#FreeBritney activists protest at Los Angeles Grand Park during a conservatorship hearing for Britney Spears on June 23, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Britney Spears and the Age-Old History of Men Policing Women's Trauma

The singer's conservatorship, on trial this month, recalls the history of hysterectomies, insane asylums, forced contraception, among others

Historically, doctors have often treated women's pain as a sign of mental illness.

Myth and Misdiagnosis Have Plagued Women's Health for Centuries

A new book by scholar Elinor Cleghorn details the medical mistreatment of women throughout Western history

Astronaut Sally Ride (left) and poet Maya Angelou (right) will be the first individuals honored through the American Women Quarters Program.

Women Who Shaped History

Maya Angelou, Sally Ride to Be Among First Women Featured on U.S. Quarters

Between 2022 and 2025, the U.S. Mint is set to highlight up to 20 trailblazing American women

Some facets of the 1918 influenza pandemic echo today's crisis: There were mask mandates, campaigns against spitting and pleas for people to cover their mouths, and more than half a million Americans died. The decade that followed the pandemic, however, was marked by social change and economic prosperity—for some.

What Caused the Roaring Twenties? Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

As the U.S. anticipates a vaccinated summer, historians say measuring the impact of the 1918 influenza on the uproarious decade that followed is tricky

Gloria Steinem in her Upper East Side apartment

Virtual Travel

Take a Virtual Tour of Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem's Historic Manhattan Apartment

In honor of her 87th birthday, the speaker and activist is (digitally) welcoming visitors into her home

Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have celebrated her 88th birthday on March 15, 2021.

A New Sculpture in Brooklyn Honors Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The statue, unveiled to coincide with Women's History Month, is dedicated to the late Supreme Court justice

This month's picks include The Agitators, Beloved Beasts, and Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid.

Books of the Month

America's Original Gangster Couple, Trailblazing Women Explorers and Other New Books to Read

These March releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

A copy of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique was gifted to the National Museum of American History and exhibited in a 2015 exhibition "The Early Sixties: American Culture."

The Powerful, Complicated Legacy of Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique'

The acclaimed reformer stoked the white, middle-class feminist movement and brought critical understanding to a “problem that had no name”

The now “male coded” union suit was actually a game changer in the women’s rights and dress reform movements.

How 19th-Century Activists Ditched Corsets for One-Piece Long Underwear

Before it was embraced by men, the union suit, or 'emancipation suit,' was worn by women pushing for dress reform

Smithsonian gemologist Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) meets her colleague, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman 1984, which was filmed at three Smithsonian museums.

How 'Wonder Woman 1984' Was Filmed at the Smithsonian

The blockbuster saw the superhero working as a museum anthropologist. But how accurate was its depiction of the Institution at the time?

The depiction of corsets in the premiere episode of "Bridgerton" is more of the same mythmaking from popular culture.

Based on a True Story

What 'Bridgerton' Gets Wrong About Corsets

Women's rights were severely restricted in 19th-century England, but their undergarments weren't to blame

From a profile of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer to a celebration of collector's items and a history of the StairMaster, these are 25 stories you might have missed in 2020.

Twenty-Five of Our Favorite Stories From 2020

Smithsonian editors highlight some articles you might have missed from the past year

Rosa Bonheur, Ploughing in the Nivernais, 1849

Rosa Bonheur's Hyper-Realistic Animal Scenes Transfixed 19th-Century Europe

The Musée d'Orsay recently announced plans to dedicate a fall 2022 exhibition to the trailblazing French artist

The statue's base is engraved with a quote from Wollstonecraft: “I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.”

Nude Statue Honoring 'Mother of Feminism' Mary Wollstonecraft Sparks Controversy

The artist says the sculpture depicts an everywoman, reflecting the 18th-century philosopher's continuing relevance today

Luisa Capetillo, left, was a labor organizer and one of Puerto Rico's foundational feminists. Right, women on Election Day in 1936, the first year all women on the island could vote.

100 Years of Women at the Ballot Box

In Puerto Rico, Women Won the Vote in a Bittersweet Game of Colonial Politics

Puertorriqueñas' fight for suffrage shaped by class, colonialism and racism—but even today, island residents cannot vote for president

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