The New Feminism

During the 1960's and into the 1970's women began to demand liberation of their own. At first men reacted with anger and dissmissial, but by the 1970's the public was aware of the issues addressed with women. The role of women changed the most out of any other group during that time period.
The Rebirth
  • The feminist movement began in the 1800's. At the Seneca Falls Convention the meeting turned from women's voting rights/ women's rights to the emanciation of slaves.
  • The feminist movement was weak after the 1920's suffrage movement. Women's Suffrage and the Progressive Movement However, some groups like the National Woman's Party kept woman's political demands alive. Still during the 50's and early 60's no visible movement was taking place, it wasn't until the late 60's when the feminist movement took off. Womens Role in the 1950's
  • Betty Friedan- Wrote a book called The Feminine Mystique. The Faminine Mystique criticized the women's role in the house, and how because they were required to stay home they were unhappy. This helped to voice the movement that was begining to stir.
  • John Kennedy established the President's Commission on the Status of Women. This commission brought national attention to sexual discrimination and would lead to legislative change.
  • Equal Pay Act- (1963) This act stopped the unfair paying less to women then to men for equal work. This act was passed by congress
  • Civil Rights Act-(1964) This act was never passed through Congress. This act was supposed to give women the legal protections against discrimination the African Americans were recieving.
  • Betty Friedan created the National Organization for Women in 1966. This organization pushed the for liberation following the same ideology as the black struggle for freedom. It demanded for more education oppertunities for women and denounced the traditional view of marriage. The main force behind the organization was demand for change in the work force. Membership expanded to 15,000 by the end of the 60's.
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        • (Pictured: President's Commission on the Status of Women)

Women's Liberation
  • By the loat 60's a new, more radical group of feminists appeared. These women were younger, affluent, white, and usually educated. These women drew their inspiration out of the New Left and the counterculture. This new leaders had a harsher approach to American Society.
    • Kate Millett- Wrote the book Sexual Politics. The book held the idea that women should band together to assult the power of male power structure.
    • Shulamith Firestone-Wrote The Dialectic of Sex.This book was known as the case for the feminist revolution.
  • Extremists rejected ideas such as marriage, family, and heterosexual intercourse. These were only a few women.
  • This movement cuased many women to challenge sexism and discrimination. They started to own buisnesses such as coffee shops and bookstores. They created feminist newspapers and magizines. They even created centers to help victims of rape and abuse, day cares, and health clinics.
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        • (Pictured: Kate Millett)

Expanding Achievements
  • The government extended affirmative action guidelines to include women which meant that it linked sexism to racism making it a social issue (1971).
  • Colleges began to open their doors to women, and some women began to open their door to men.
  • Women became predominant in the work force, by the 70's 50% of all married women held jobs. The norm was both couples working. In addition, some women were delaying getting married and motherhood for their jobs.
  • Women started to refuse their husband's name when married, and use the term Ms. instead of Mrs. or Miss.
  • Politically women were begining to compete with men for office positions, both elected and appointed.
    • Sandra Day O'Connor- first female Sumpreme Court justice
    • Ruth Ginsburg- second female Sumpreme Court justice
    • Geraldine Ferraro- first vice president nominee
  • Women began to compete with men for both attention and equal share of prize money in professional athletics.
    • Billie Jean King- women tennis player
  • They even joined the space program.
  • Equal Rights Amendment- (1982) failed in Congress, people feared that it wold ruin the traditional social patterns.
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The Abortion Controversy
  • A great issue since the 1920's has been women's efforts to gain control of their sexual and reproductive rights. This awareness brought forth problems of sexual abuse, rape, and wife beatings.
  • There was continued controversy over contraseptives and birth-control, but it seemed of little importance compared to the issue of abortion.
  • Abortion at one time had been legal in the United States, but by the 1900's it was banned in most of the country until the 60's.
  • The womens movement pushed the legalization of abortion.
    • Roe v. Wade- (1974) This sumpreme court decision invalidated all laws prohibiting abortion in the first trimester.
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Sources
AAMSCO
American History- Text Book - 12th Edition- Alan Brinkley
Information on the Feminist Movement