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Chapter 20
Section 2
• The Feminist movement
emerged in the 1960s.
• Feminism is the belief
that men and women
should be politically,
economically, and
socially equal.
Women during World War II
• During World War II,
while men were
overseas fighting in the
war, women took their
place in the workforce.
Role as Homemakers
• After the war, many
women returned to
their roles as
• However, more women
took jobs outside the
home during the 1950s.
Not Equal
• By the mid-1960s, almost half of American
women worked outside the home, often in
low-paying jobs.
• Signs of unequal status of women included:
– newspapers separated job ads by gender
– clubs refused women memberships
– banks denying women credit
– women often were paid less for the same work as
Presidential Commission on the Status
of Women
• In 1961, President
Kennedy set up the
Presidential Commission
on the Status of Women.
• The commission was
headed by Eleanor
• The commission’s report
helped create a network
of feminist activists who
lobbied Congress for
women’s laws.
Congressional Action
• Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963.
– It outlawed paying men more than women for the
same job.
• Congress also added Title VII (7) to the 1964
Civil Rights Act which outlawed gender
Betty Friedan and NOW
• Betty Friedan, author of
The Feminine Mystique,
was one of the founders
of the National
Organization for Women
(NOW) in 1966.
• Friedan described the
purpose of NOW, which
according her was to
confront the conditions
which denied women the
equality of opportunity
and freedom of choice.
Gloria Steinem
• Another important
author and the editor of
Ms. Magazine was
Gloria Steinem.
• In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the women’s
movement fought battles on many fronts.
• It had many successes but also faced strong
• In 1972 Congress passed the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA).
– If 38 states ratified this amendment, protection
against gender discrimination would become part of
the Constitution.
Opposition to ERA
• By 1979, 35 states had
done so.
• However, opposition to
the ERA had begun to
– Opponents believed ERA
would take away
traditional rights, allow
women to be drafted, or
eliminate laws giving
women special protection
in the workforce.
Phyllis Schlafly
• A vocal opponent of the
ERA was Phyllis Schlafly.
• She organized the
nationwide Stop-ERA
• By the end of 1979, four
states had voted to
rescind their approval.
• The ERA failed in 1982,
unable to gain ratification
by three-fourths of the
Banning Discrimination in Education
• A major accomplishment of the women’s
movement was gaining greater equality for
women in education.
• Leaders of the movement pushed lawmakers
to pass federal laws banning discrimination in
Title IX
• In 1972 Congress passed
a collection of laws
known as the Educational
• One part of these laws
was Title IX.
• It stopped federally
funded schools from
discriminating against
females in nearly all
areas, including
admissions and sports.
• Another important goal for many women was
the repeal of laws against abortion.
• Until 1973, the right to regulate abortion was
given to the states.
• This was in keeping with the original plan of
the Constitution.
• In the mid-1800s, states also had passed laws
prohibiting abortion except to save the
mother’s life.
Roe v. Wade
• In the late 1960s, some
states began adopting more
liberal abortion laws.
• In 1973 the Supreme Court
ruled in Roe v. Wade that
state governments could
not regulate abortion
during the first three
months of pregnancy.
• This was interpreted as
being within a woman’s
constitutional right to
Right to Life
• The decision led to the
rise of the right-to-life
• Members of this
movement considered
abortion an absolute
wrong and wanted it to
be banned.
• The heated battle over
abortion continues
Outcomes of the Feminist Movement
• The women’s movement has greatly affected
• Many more women have pursued college
degrees and careers outside of the home since
the 1970s.
• Many employers now offer ways to help make
work life more compatible with family life.
Income Gap & Professionals
• Still, there remains a wide income gap
between men and women.
• Most working women still hold lower paying
• In professional positions, however, women
have made dramatic gains since the 1970s.