The Women's Rights Movement
Terms in this set (17)
-Analyze how a movement for women's rights arose in the 1960s
-Explain the goals and tactics of the women's movement
-Assess the impact of the women's movement on American society
How did the New Left movement contribute to the women's rights movement?
Women who were active in the New Left movement experienced discrimination and wanted rights for themselves.
What did Title VII ensure?
It made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race and sex in hiring.
Why was NOW called the National Organization for Women and not the National Organization of Women?
NOW had both male and female members; its objective was to support owmen in attaining equal rights
How did divorce rates influence the women's movement?
Because divorce rates were high, women knew that they needed to be able to support themselves and their children.
A Women's Movemetn Arises/Feminism
Historians often refer to the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s as the second wave of feminism, or the theory of political, social, and economic equality of men and women. They want to emphasize that the struggle for women's rights has had a long history, going back at least to the 1840s, when women drafted the Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls, New York. The phrase second wave of feminism also reminds us that the first wave, which culminated with women's winning the right to vote in 1920, ended well before the nation addressed the call for full equality. In teh decades that followed, women made little legal or social headwya. Several factors influenced the rebirth of the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
Seeking to Redefine Traditional Roles
The civil rights struggle prompted women to look at the ways in which society judged and discriminated against them as a group. As Casey Hayden and Mary King, two veterans of that movement, put it: "Sex and caste. There seem to be many parallels that can be drawn between the treament of Negroes and the treatment of women in society as a whole." The civil rights movement both inspired women to demand gender equality and taught them ways to get it. It also brought black and white women together, strengthening their shared cause.
Women also wanted to redefine how they were viewed. Many women objected to the inaccuracy of the housewife stereotype. Some needed to work to support themselves or their families. Others wanted more opporutnities than their lives as housewives could offer. Betty Friedan powerfully articulated this message in her groundbreaking book The Feminine Mystique.
Looking for Better Work
Despite the stereotypes, the number of women in the workforce grew throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Yet working women often found themselves in deadend jobs. Even those with training and education had their access to careers or advancement blocked, in many cases, by blatantly discriminatory employers. Sandra Day O'Connor, who ultimately became the first female Supreme Court Justice, graduated near the top of her class at Stanford Law School in the early 1950s. Yet while she found few employment opportunities upon graduation, her male counterparts won job offers at prestigious law firms. Facing such restrictions, women increasingly demanded equal treatment in the workplace.
Women Find Their Voices/National Organization for Women (NOW)
Several years after she wrote The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan helped established NOW. The organization--which dedicated itself to winning "true equality for all women" and to attaining a "full and equal partnership of the sexes"--galvanized the women's movement.
NOW's Goals and Tactics/Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
NOW set out to break down barriers of discrimination in the workplace and in education. It attaced stereotypes of women in teh media and called for more balance in roles in marraiges. It had two major priorities. The first was to bring about passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee gender equality under the law. The ERA intially had been proposed in the early 1920s but had never passed. The second was to protect reproductive rights, especially the right to an abortion. NOW worked within the existing political system, lobbying for political reforsm and readying court cases to compel the government ot enforce existing legislation that banned discrimination. For some women, NOW seemed too extreme; for others, it was not extreme enough. Still, NOW served as a rallying point to promote equality for all women.
Raising Society's Awareness/Gloria Steinem
Finding NOW too tame, radical feminists sought a more fundamental restructuring of society. Rather than seeking legislative change, these protesters sought to show the way society trapped women into adopting restrictive roles. In addition to public protests of the Miss America Pageant, radical feminists engaged in small-scale consciousness-raising efforts. Other feminists sought to raise public awareness by making personal issues political.
Some feminists, like Gloria Steinem, tried to change awareness through the mass media. After graduating from college, Steinem worked as a freelance writer, including a stint of undercover work at a club run by Playboy magazine. While society tended to view Playboy bunnies in glamorous terms, STeinme revealed how much humiliation they had to endure to make a living. In 1972, she helped co-found Ms., a feminist magazine. Its title meant to protest the social custom of identifying women by their marital status rather than as individuals.
Opposing the Women's Movement/Phyllis Schlafly
Some Americans--both men and women--openly challenged the women's movement. Phyllis Schlafly, for example, is a conservative political activist who denounced women's liberation as "a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children." She worked hard to defeat the EAR, arguing that the act would compel women to fight in the military, end sex-segregated bathrooms, and hurt the family. Her argument resonated with many conservatives. With their support, the ERA fell three states short of becoming a constitutional amendment.
Lasting Effects of the Women's Movement
The women's movement affected all aspect of American society. Women's roles and opportunities expanded. Women gained legal rights that had been denied them. And feminists sparked an important debate about equality that continues today. Yet the issues they raised continue to divide Americans. Some say that women haven't made enough gains. Others fear that the movement has actually harmed society.
Making Legal Headway
Before the 1960s, there were no federal laws prohibiting gender discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, however, gave feminists a legal tool. It included a clause, called Title VII, that outlawed discrimination on the basis of sex. The clause was actually inserted by civil rights opponents, who thought it was so outlandish that it would make the entire bill look ridiculous. When the bill actually passed, however, women used Title VII to challenge discrimination. The bill aslo set up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce the federal prohibition on job discrimination.
Enforcing Title VII, even with the EEOC, was often difficult. Still, NOW and other feminist organizations tirelessly filed suits against employers who refused to hire women or to pay them fairly, compelling the federal government to act. President Kennedy established the Commission on the Status of Women in 1961 to examine workplace discrimination. Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 banned discrimination in education. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, passed in 1974, made it illegal to deny credit to a woman just because of her gender.
Roe v. Wade and Legal Abortions
Some feminists considered their most important legal victory to be the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which assured women the right to legal abortions. Prior to Roe, most states outlawed or severely restricted aobrtion. Some women turned to illegal and often dangerous ways to end their pregnancies. The case and its decision was highly controversial at the time and still is today.
The Workplace Slowly Changes
The women's movement fostered a shift in attitudes among both men and women, and the American workplace today reflects this change. The percentage of women in the workforce has grown, from about 30 percent in 1950 to more than 60 percent in 2000. So, too, has the number of married female workers. Fields long closed or severely limited to women--such as medicine, law, and accounting--have opened up as well. The general shift in attitudes symbolized by these changes has created a world of possiblities for many young women who never knew a time when women were not allowed to do these things.
Despite these gains, the average woman still earns less than the average, partly because many women continue to work in fields that pay less. Some people have referred to this situation as a "pink collar ghetto." Whether this is because of discrimination, or because women who shoulder family responsibilities often have limited job choices, remains a matter of debate. Many studies suggest that a "glass ceiling" exists, limiting the advancement of even the most highly educated and skilled women workers.
Most troubling, the United Staes has witnessed a feminization of poverty over the past 30 years. This means that the majority of the nation's poor people are single women. These are the women in the lowest-paying jobs, with the fewest benefits. Many of these poor women are single mothers, who must bear the costs and responsibilities of raising children alone while also working.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
WGST 112 Exam 1- Collier
chapter 21 section 2
women in american society ch 15
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
Sensation and Perception
Life Span Development
Electric Charge and Static Electricity
The End of the Cold War
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
AP US History Chapter 28- The Civil Right Movement