Happy Anniversary To A Law That Barred Women From Smoking In Public

by Marissa Dubecky

No need to celebrate—but today marks the anniversary of the passage of one of many inane laws women have been subjected to over the course of American history, just because they have lady parts.

On January 21, 1908, the Sullivan Ordinance was put into effect in New York City, barring the owners of public places from allowing women to smoke on their premises. Even more nonsensical than the idea of outlawing this in the first place is the fact that the law did not stop women from lighting up in general nor even in public, just specifically from smoking in public venues.

The only woman cited for breaking the rule was put in jail overnight for refusing to pay her $5 fine, not that the statute even mentioned fines… Unsurprisingly, this municipal ordinance only lasted a whopping two weeks, because, well, it was stupid. Cheers to the vetoing of inequitable gender laws and the progress towards a smarter, more just society. Now let’s focus on turning sexist and absurd modern laws–like these super strict abortion regulations–into history.

Image via Chuckman Chicago

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