Throughout American history, there has been a shift towards more equality between men and women. Sometimes change happened quickly, while at other times it seemed as if nothing would ever change. As you know already, women worked to win the right to vote and to own property. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Civil Rights Movement inspired a new wave of feminism that worked on issues like sexuality, family, workplace rights, reproductive rights, and society’s attitudes about the proper role for women in American life.
Looking at history, we might expect that men and women will continue to become more equal in the future. However, we cannot assume that the progress of the past will continue. What do you think? Can men and women truly be equal?
A LONG HISTORY OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS
This is the story of women’s fight for equal rights in the 1960s and 1970s, but it’s important to remember that women have been fighting for equal rights in America for a long time. As far back in the 1700s, Abigail Adams asked the Founding Fathers to “remember the ladies“ when they were drafting the Declaration of Independence. But, they didn’t listen, and women continued to have less power than men.
In the 1800s, women started organizing in religious movements, the abolition movement to end slavery, and the temperance movement to ban alcohol. They officially began the women’s suffrage movement at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Many women thought they would finally get the right to vote after the Civil War ended in 1865 when the 15th Amendment to give the right to vote to former slaves was being written, but they were left out. Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified.
During most of the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, women were expected to stay at home to take care of the house and their children while men went out to work. This idea was called the Cult of Domesticity. It had first started with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s when the first factories were built, but lasted for decades. Women homemakers were celebrated as the ideal in TV shows in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, the civil rights movements inspired many white and middle-class women to create their own movement for greater rights. Older, married women who found their traditional roles unfulfilling were the main activists. Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, argued against the Cult of Domesticity. She wrote that there were many ways women wanted to find happiness, not just getting married, having children and taking care of a house. This book raised the consciousness of many women who agreed that staying at home was unfulfilling.
It was around this time that the term sexism was first used and people started to talk about discrimination as something that women faced. For the first time, some women adopted the title Ms instead of Miss or Mrs to avoid changing their identities based on their relationships with men. Gloria Steinem founded a feminist magazine in 1972 and called it Ms to capture this new sense of purpose.
These women writers helped launch a movement that fought social, political, and economic barriers. At the time, less than 40% of the country’s undergraduate college students were women. Far fewer women were candidates for advanced degrees. There were only 19 women serving in Congress in 1961, despite voting for four decades. For every dollar earned by an American man, women earned only 59 cents.
This exciting time of change for women that began in the 1960s is now known as Second Wave Feminism.
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Betty Friedan ignited the modern feminist movement with the publication of her book The Feminine Mystique
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
For many years, most Americans thought that men should always make more money than women, even if they were doing the same job. But in the 1960s, feminist activists worked hard to change this. They wanted the government to make a law that said men and women should get paid the same amount for the same work, and in 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act that promised women would get paid the same as men.
But there was another law that was even more important for women’s rights, called the Civil Rights Act. This law protected women from unfair treatment because of their gender. It was originally written to stop the Jim Crow segregation of African Americans in the South. But it also helped women.
Ironically, a man who didn’t believe in racial equality or women’s rights suggested that the law should include protection for women. He thought that including women as a protected group in the law would be too radical for other men to accept and then the whole law would fail. Surprisingly, his plan backfired, and the law was passed, giving women and minorities more protection.
Two years later, a group of women, led by Betty Friedan, started an organization called the National Organization for Women (NOW). They wanted to make sure that women were treated fairly in all parts of American life, just like men. They fought for a change to the Constitution, called the Equal Rights Amendment, which would make sure that women had the same rights as men in the law. NOW organized protests, talked to politicians, and even went to court to fight for equal treatment.
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
While the Equal Pay Act had been passed by Congress in 1963, women working in some jobs such as housekeepers, farm workers, executives, administrators, or professionals were not protected by the law. Feminist activists wanted a change to the Constitution to guarantee that men and women were treated the same. Alice Paul, who helped pass the 19th Amendment to give women the right to vote, first suggested this change, called the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), back in 1923. Since helping to win the right to vote for women, she had spent the rest of her life working for the ERA and continued to do so right up until her death in 1977.
It is not easy to change the Constitution, which is good because it makes sure that only good ideas are added. First, two-thirds of Congress must agree on the change, and then three-fourths of the state governments must also agree. This means that it is very hard for just one political party or part of the country to add an amendment. It also meant that getting the Equal Rights Amendment passed was going to be a challenge.
In 1970, women’s rights organizations like NOW started pushing for the ERA. Leaders like Gloria Steinem spoke to Congress to try to get support for the change. The House agreed to the amendment in 1970, and the Senate agreed in 1972. Public opinion polls showed that many Americans supported the ERA. By 1973, 30 out of the 38 states needed to ratify the amendment had voted for it.
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Phyllis Schlafly at a rally in opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. Her highly organized campaign stalled support for the amendment and it was never ratified.
Then, a group that did not want the ERA to pass started working against it. The leader of this group was a woman named Phyllis Schlafly. She said that the ERA would cause problems for traditional American society. Schlafly said that the ERA would take away laws that helped women and change things like who got custody of children in a divorce.
In the end, the fight over the ERA was not really a fight between men and women, it was an argument among women over how much they wanted things to be equal between genders. Some women were in favor of equal rights when they saw that men had more advantages in society, but they did not want to lose the advantages that they had. The STOP ERA campaign worked to stop more state governments from agreeing to the change. They even baked pies for lawmakers and put signs on babies pointing out that if the ERA passed women might have to be drafted into the military. After 1973, fewer states voted for the ERA, and by 1982, only 35 out of the needed 38 states had approved it.
Despite early progress for women’s rights, Schlafly’s campaign and a rise in traditional values in the 1970s and 1980s made people wonder if adding gender equality to the Constitution was a good idea. Some feminist groups still want the ERA to be added to the Constitution. Hillary Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, talked about bringing the ERA back. The idea of adding the ERA to the Constitution is now over 100 years old, and it might become a law someday. However, for now, there is no guarantee of gender equality in the Constitution.
Second Wave Feminism was started by writers and most activists worked through the political system to bring attention to issues like economic inequality and legal rights. But some feminists believed that these efforts were not enough and created their own, more public, events to raise awareness about oppression.
One famous event took place in 1968, when New York Radical Women protested the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. They wanted to challenge ideas about femininity and traditional gender roles, and drew attention to the exploitation of women they believed was happening at the pageant. The protesters crowned a sheep as Miss America and threw items that they thought showed men’s power over women, such as high-heeled shoes, curlers, girdles, and bras, into a “freedom trash can.” The media called the event a bra-burning, but this didn’t actually happen.
Even though these protests were eye-catching, the most important progress for women came from legal battles and new laws.
For most of human history, sex had very different outcomes for men and women. Unlike men, women could get pregnant and become mothers, which limited their opportunities for work outside the home. Even if they were allowed to work, the possibility of motherhood made it difficult to keep a job. The idea that motherhood was the #1 job for women was so strong that in the early 1900s, women were not allowed to be school teachers if they were married, since people thought they belonged at home taking care of their families.
Margaret Sanger, a woman who fought for a woman’s right to birth control, believed that women could not be free unless they could control how many children they would have. However, birth control was illegal in most states, even for married couples. After World War I, condoms became legal and common in America, but it was not until the 1950s that a philanthropist named Katherine McCormick gave the money for scientists to invent the birth control pill. In 1960, the pill was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for general use, and for the first time, women could control their own pregnancy without relying on their partners.
Even though the pill was popular, it remained illegal in many states as a form of contraception. However, in 1965, the Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting birth control pills violated a basic right to privacy. Birth control was a way for women to gain freedom and equality. After all, many feminists at the time argued, women should have the same rights as men in the workplace and should be able to enjoy sex without fear of pregnancy just as much as men.
The availability of birth control had a huge impact on American life. Women could be sexually active and remain unmarried, which allowed them to spend time on their education, finish college and dedicate themselves to their jobs if they wanted. After the pill was legalized, there was a sharp increase in college attendance and graduation rates for women. Birth control was seen as an excellent, inexpensive way to fight poverty as well. Women choose how many children they would have to pay to support. They could also finish school and earn money before starting their families.
However, the pill was controversial as Americans struggled with their beliefs about sex. Many church leaders argued about this change in society. Opponents of the pill cited an increase in children born to unmarried mothers, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and divorce rates as evidence that more people having sex before getting married was bad for America.
Despite opposition, the use of the oral contraceptive pill continues to be common. As of 2010, 80% of sexually active women had used the pill at some point in their lives. Today, women have other options for birth control that do not involve their partners, including implants and patches, but the pill is still the most popular, and its effect on society is undeniable.
The topic of abortion is probably the most controversial issue in the feminist movement. In the 1960s, many states had made abortion illegal except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. Women’s groups argued that this caused many women to seek out dangerous, illegal abortions. As a result, some states, like California and New York, began to legalize abortions. However, there was no federal law about abortions, so women’s groups worked to get a case to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s decision came in the case of Roe v. Wade. A woman in Texas challenged the state’s ban on abortions, arguing that the Constitution guaranteed her right to privacy so the government couldn’t control her choice about having an abortion or not. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to an abortion was guaranteed in the Constitution and said that no state could restrict abortions during the first three months of pregnancy. However, the Court did say that states could pass laws to protect the mother’s health during the second trimester, and that abortion could be banned during the third trimester.
This decision was met with enthusiasm by women’s groups, but there was also strong opposition. The Catholic Church had long been against abortion and many Protestant ministers joined them in their opposition. The National Right to Life Committee was started to work to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision.
The issue of abortion is a difficult one because it involves personal beliefs about when life begins. Some people believe that life begins at conception and that the unborn child deserves the same legal protection as an adult. They feel that ending a life is the same as murder. These people call themselves pro-life. Others believe that life begins at birth and that a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body, including having an abortion. They call themselves pro-choice.
Planned Parenthood is a pro-choice organization that provides women with healthcare and advice on many issues, including contraception and cancer screening. They also provide safe, inexpensive abortions. However, protesters regularly picket outside their offices, and some have even been bombed.
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A pro-life rally. One of the signs directly references the day the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court.
Since the Roe v. Wade decision, there have been many attempts to limit abortion rights. Pro-life groups have tried to pass a Right-to-Life Amendment to the Constitution, but it has never received enough support to pass. Pro-choice groups have been concerned about laws that make it harder to access abortions. For example, the Hyde Amendment of 1976 prohibits the use of Medicaid money for abortions. This means that some women cannot afford to have an abortion.
There have also been many court cases that have limited abortion rights. For example, in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to impose waiting periods and parental notification requirements so girls under 18 cannot have an abortion without their parent’s knowledge. In 2014, the Texas legislature passed a law with new rules for abortion clinics. The rules were hard to follow. The Supreme Court eventually ruled this law unconstitutional, but by then, many of the clinics that offered abortions had already closed.
On December 1, 2022, the Supreme Court reversed their Roe v. Wade decision in a new case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. By 2022, a majority of the members of the Court had been appointed by Republican presidents and their new decision said that the Court back in 1973 had made a mistake, and that there was no guarantee of privacy in the Constitution.
Immediately after the decision, states across the country started passing laws either banning or protecting abortion. As of March 2023, abortion is now totally illegal in 13 states and illegal after a few weeks of pregnancy in five more. Nine states are working on passing new laws to ban abortion. Most of these states are in the South and West. On the other hand, 26 states have laws specifically guaranteeing women the right to an abortion.
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Support for the Roe v. Wade decision (and legalized abortion by extension) has wavered over time, but has remained positive since the decision was made.
In the past, it was hard for couples to get divorced. Marriage was controlled by churches and religious leaders didn’t like giving people divorces. Only in cases of abuse or cheating could a person get a divorce. Many people thought this was good for society since it led to stable families. But in the 1970s, things started to change.
In 1967, California passed a law that said people could get divorced for any reason. This was called a no-fault divorce. Soon other states wrote similar laws. More people started to get divorced. In 1950, less than 20% of marriages ended in divorce. But by 1970, almost 50% of marriages ended in divorce.
Before no-fault divorce laws, people had to stay in unhappy marriages because of pressure from society and religious leaders. Sometimes people couldn’t get divorced because they couldn’t prove that their spouse cheated. No-fault laws made divorce more acceptable and religious leaders less powerful. Eventually churches started to allow divorced people back into their congregations.
As more people got divorced, Americans wondered how divorce was affecting children. Single parents had less time to spend with their children because they had to work more. But on the flip side, it’s not good for kids to live in homes with lots of fighting. Since the 1970s, marriage has become less important, and more people choose to live together without getting married. This means that 40% of American children have lived with unmarried parents. These relationships are often less stable and most kids whose parents aren’t married will see their parents break up by the time they turn 15. Since the 1980s, fewer people are getting divorced. But the rate is still much higher than before no-fault divorce laws.
Another important legal change happened in the 1970s. Before then, in many states, husbands had complete control over property. This meant that in cases of divorce, husbands could take all the money and the home and leave their ex-wives with nothing. But in 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that this was unfair to women and unconstitutional.
Although more divorces have led to some new problems, like more single-parent homes and less stable relationships, no-fault divorce laws have also helped women escape from unhappy and even dangerous marriages.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 aimed to protect people from being treated unfairly because of their race or gender. However, it did not specifically address discrimination against female students. So, a new law called Title IX was passed to make sure that female students were also protected from discrimination.
One area where Title IX had a big impact was on high school and college athletics. Before Title IX, there were very few opportunities for girls to play sports. But after it was passed, the number of girls participating in sports increased dramatically. In fact, there are now nine times as many girls in high school sports as there were before Title IX.
Some people argue that Title IX has led to the elimination of men’s sports programs. This is because schools are required to offer equal opportunities for male and female students. Some schools have chosen to eliminate men’s sports programs in order to comply with this requirement. Critics of Title IX have argued that this is unfair to male students.
Title IX also applies to other areas of education, not just sports. One important area where it has had an impact is in the way sexual harassment against female students is handled by school officials. The law has been used to force schools to deal with claims of sexual abuse and harassment and to start programs to protect female students.
In 2010, the Department of Education under President Obama announced that transgender students are also protected from discrimination under Title IX. However, this policy was changed under the Trump Administration and is currently in flux.
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Hillary Clinton speaking during the presidential campaign of 2016. Clinton was a former first lady, senator and secretary of state. She was the first woman to win the nomination of either the Democratic or Republican Party, but lost her general election bid to Donald Trump.
THE GLASS CEILING
Back in 1978, a writer named Marilyn Loden wrote that it seemed as if there was an invisible barrier stopping women from getting high-up jobs in organizations. She called this problem the “glass ceiling.”
Things have gotten better since then, but the glass ceiling is still around. In big companies, only 5% of CEOs are women. Even in lower positions, there are usually more men in management jobs. In 2018, women were still paid less than men. This was partly because women often have to take time off work to take care of their families. Since many companies give pay raises to their workers each year that they are part of the company, when women return from taking care of their families, they usually come back and earn less than the men around them who haven’t taken breaks in employment.
In politics, there aren’t as many women as men. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to run for president from a major party, but she didn’t win. In 2020, Kamala Harris became the first female vice president. But America has never had a female president. Only 24% of senators and 27% of representatives in Congress are women. There are currently four women on the Supreme Court. This is better than before, but for the first 192 years of our country’s history, only men made the most important legal decisions in America. Finally, in 1981, a woman named Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Court. Since then, four other women have served there too.
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From left to right: Sandra Day O’Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, the first four women to serve as justices on the Supreme Court. When Ginsburg passed away in 2020, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.
WOMEN IN THE ARMED FORCES
The role of women in the military has changed a lot over the years. For most of American history, only men were allowed to fight in combat. Women were usually limited to jobs like cooking, cleaning, and nursing. But there were some brave women who disguised themselves as men and fought in wars like the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
In 1898, Annie Oakley offered to lead a group of women sharpshooters into battle during the Spanish-American War, but her offer was not accepted. It wasn’t until World War I that women began to take on roles usually held by men. During that war, over 13,000 women joined the Navy and Marines and were allowed to serve in office jobs.
In World War II, even more women joined the military. They still served in separate units from men, but in 1948, President Truman signed a law that allowed women to serve in fully integrated units during peacetime.
Women continued to serve in supporting roles during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, but in the 1970s, things began to change. Military academies became coeducational, and women were allowed to join the same pathway as men to become officers. The military decided to allow women to serve in combat roles beginning in 2016.
Although it is hard to say that feminism caused the change in the military’s policies, it is clear that changing attitudes in society were reflected in military policy. Women have shown that they are just as capable as men in serving their country, and many have even risen to the highest ranks of the military. It has taken a long time, but women have finally gained full access to the armed forces, paving the way for a more equal future.
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Female pilots in the Air Force behind the F-15 fighter jets that they fly. As of 2015, women are permitted in all roles within the armed forces.
Second Wave Feminist changed American society. This movement that began in the 1960s led to changes in access to birth control and abortion, changes in divorce law, and more women being able to play sports, join the military, and work.
Even though people who wanted women’s rights didn’t get everything they wanted, they still kept working hard. Because of their efforts, it’s now possible for women to do things like lead big companies, play professional sports, and even become president.
There has been a long history of inequality between men and women in America, and things are still changing. It’s hard to say for sure if men and women can ever be completely equal, but people are still working to make things better.
What do you think? Will men and women ever be equal?
BIG IDEA: The fight for women’s rights is as old as the United States itself. At different periods there has been more excitement and successes. In the 1960s and 70s another wave of feminist zeal emerged. This Second Wave Feminism correlated with changes in reproductive rights and social expectations, especially related to the workplace.
Women have been fighting for equal rights since before the United States existed. In the early 1800s, women met at the Seneca Falls Convention and started working for the right to vote. However, at the same time the industrial revolution gave rise to the Cult of Domesticity, which established different roles for men and women in society. Women were supposed to stay at home to cook, clean, and care for children. Women finally won the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
In the 1960s, Second Wave Feminism started with the publication of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique. She criticized the Cult of Domesticity and challenged the idea that women should be happy as homemakers and mothers.
Laws such as the Civil Rights Act and Equal Pay Act gave women more rights. The National Organization for Women (NOW) started working to pass a constitutional amendment to guarantee women equal rights. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was never ratified because Phyllis Schlafly organized a movement to stop it. She argued that equal rights would hurt women.
Some radical feminists demonstrated by burning bras or protesting at the Miss America Pageant.
A major change for women in the 1950s was the legalization of birth control. This helped contribute to the sexual revolution of the counterculture and made sex outside of marriage much more common.
The legalization of abortion with the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973 was another major turning point for women. Abortion is still controversial and pro-life and pro-choice organizations and politicians continue to fight about it.
In the 1960s and 1970s, divorce laws changed so that women could divorce and maintain control of property and child custody. This greatly increased the rates of divorce since women could escape bad relationships and not have to leave their children or be cast into poverty.
Title IX guaranteed equal opportunities for girls in schools that received federal funding. This led to an increase in school sports for girls.
TheThe glass ceiling is an imaginary boundary women cannot pass in government and politics. So far, no woman has ever been president, only five have been on the Supreme Court, and few have ever been company CEOs.
Women can now serve in any role in the armed forces, but this is a recent change. The role women played in the 1991 Persian Gulf War helped break down these barriers.
PEOPLE AND GROUPS
Abigail Adams: Wife of the second president. She is remembered as an early champion for women’s rights.
Betty Friedan: Feminist in the 1960s who wrote The Feminine Mystique criticizing the traditional role of women. Her book launched the feminist movement of the 1970s. She founded NOW.
Gloria Steinem: Feminist who founded Ms Magazine in 1972.
Germaine Greer: Australian professor who wrote about the traditional role of women in society. Instead of celebrating motherhood and femininity, she portrayed these roles as traps women were forced into.
National Organization for Women (NOW): Organization founded by Betty Friedan to promote women’s rights.
Alice Paul: Advocate for women’s suffrage in the early 1900s. She founded the National Women’s Party and used more aggressive tactics to publicize the movement. In her later life she promoted the Equal Rights Amendment.
Phyllis Schlafly: Women who worked against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She argued that the law would result in undesirable changes for women.
Margaret Sanger: Champion of birth control in the early 1900s.
National Right to Life Committee: Organization dedicated to reversing the Roe v. Wade decision and making abortion illegal.
National Abortion Rights Action League: Organization dedicated to making sure abortion remains legal.
Planned Parenthood: Organization that provides healthcare services to women including abortions. They are often the focus of anti-abortion protests.
Hillary Clinton: Former senator, secretary of state and first lady who ran for president in 2008 and 2016. She lost the primary in 2008 and the general election in 2016, but was the first woman to be nominated for president by one of the two major political parties.
Kamala Harris: The first female vice president. She took office in 2021 after serving as a senator and attorney general in California.
Sandra Day O’Connor: First woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Cult of Domesticity: Idea popularized in the early 1800s with the onset of the Industrial Revolution that certain tasks and issues were appropriate for women. These did not include work outside the home or politics. This has also been called the Women’s Sphere.
Sexism: Prejudice or discrimination against a person because of his or her gender. It was a word that first became common during the feminist movement of the 1970s.
Pro-Life: Being opposed to abortion.
Pro-Choice: Being in favor of legalized abortion.
Litmus Test: A position that a candidate must take in order to receive support from a group of voters. A candidate’s position on abortion is often a make-or-break factor in American politics.
Glass Ceiling: Idea that women can be promoted in business, the military, or politics but can never rise to the highest levels. The phrase was first coined in 1978.
Griswold v. Connecticut: 1965 Supreme Court case legalizing birth control.
Eisenstadt v. Baird: 1972 Supreme Court case that made it legal for unmarried minors to purchase birth control.
Roe v. Wade: 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy, and permitted some restrictions on abortions in the second and third trimesters. It remains one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions.
Kirchberg v. Feenstra: 1981 Supreme Court case that outlawed masterly laws which had granted all joint property to husbands in divorce.
Birth Control: Any form of contraception. The term was coined by Margaret Sanger.
Birth Control Pill: Oral form of contraception first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960. The widespread availability of this form of contraception helped fuel the sexual revolution in the 1960s.
Abortion: Medical procedure to end a pregnancy by choice.
LETTERS & BOOKS
“Remember the Ladies!”: Quote from one of Abigail Adams’ letters to John Adams during the debate over the Declaration of Independence in which she urged him to consider women’s rights in the establishment of the nation.
The Feminine Mystique: Book by Betty Friedan critical of the role of women in society. The book helped spark the feminist movement of the 1970s.
Seneca Falls Convention: The first major meeting of women’s rights advocates in America, which occurred in New York in 1848.
Second Wave Feminism: A time period in the 1970s when women were actively promoting their rights. The time period included the Roe v. Wade case, legalization of birth control, as well as failed push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
Miss America Pageant: Beauty contest that become the target of feminist protesters in the 1970s who argued that it, and other contests like it, promoted the objectification of women. They crowned a sheep in protest.
Bra Burning: Form of protest popularized by feminists in the 1960s and 1970s who wanted to demonstrate their rejection of traditional gender rules.
LAWS & POLICIES
19th Amendment: Constitutional amendment ratified in 1920 granting women the right to vote.
Equal Pay Act of 1964: Law passed in 1964 which promised women the same pay men received for the same work.
Civil Rights Act of 1964: Law passed in 1964 that was designed to provide equal rights for African Americans (and all races) in public places. It also included protection for women.
Maternity Leave: Paid time off from work for women in order to care for newborn children.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): Constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal treatment under the law for women. It was passed by Congress and multiple states in the 1970s, but never ratified by enough states to become law.
Right-to-Life Amendment: Proposed constitutional amendment that would make abortion illegal. The proposal has not passed in Congress.
Hyde Amendment: 1976 law that prohibits the use of tax money to pay for abortion. This means that Medicaid cannot cover abortions.
No-Fault Divorce: A law that allows couples to file for divorce without giving a reason. First passed in 1967, these laws make divorce much easier to obtain and consequently, more common.
Title IX: Addition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that guaranteed equal access for girls. One major consequence has been the funding of girls athletics in high schools and colleges.