Tuesday Open Line

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing. While this act is a famous landmark in the national effort to assure equality of treatment, its ban on sex discrimination was not in the forefront of the effort. On this date in 1872, the state of Illinois enacted the first such ban on discrimination. It came about through the lobbying of Alta Hulett, who had been kept from sitting for the Illinois bar exam. The new law cleared the way, and she became Illinois’ first female attorney, and the world’s youngest at age 19. Today, fully one-third of America’s lawyers and judges are women, as opposed to the 4.9 percent figure of as recently as 1970. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.