Phyllis Schlafly

A Woman Against Women's Rights

Background Information

  • born August 15, 1924
  • died of cancer on September 5, 2016
  • held conservative social and political views

Historical Significance

  • slowed feminism by opposing and causing the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); STOP (Stop Taking Our Privileges) campaign caused 5 states to rescind their ratification, causing the ERA to receive only 30/38 total votes needed
  • appealed to middle-aged housewives without job skills by using symbols reflecting traditional gender roles (apple pie, aprons, etc.) and fear tactics (potential repeal of protective laws, such as alimony, custody bias, immunity against draft, and social security "dependent wife" benefits)
  • denounced feminists for abandoning older, middle-class widows and divorcees in need and benefiting only young career women; stated that feminists did not represent all women
  • led a revolt of "moral conservatives" at the 1960 Republican National Convention opposing Nixon's anti-segregation stance
  • organized counter-conference (Pro-Life, Pro-Family Rally) to protest feminist National Women's Conference
  • moved Republican Party to the right
  • resulted in feminist dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, giving the Democrats a new source of strength that when combined with overwhelming minority support, helped elect Bill Clinton to the presidency in 1992 and again in 1996
  • opposed arms control agreements with Soviet Union, believing that they would not stop Red aggression
  • recently, she called Roe v. Wade "the worst decision in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court", illegitimized marital rape, referred to same-sex marriages as "attacks on the definition of marriage", and insulted the United Nations

Relation to Key Concept Outline (KCO)

Big picture

KC 8.2 I

slowed/halted progress towards equality

Big picture

KC 8.2 III

began resurgent conservative movements that attacked liberalism

Big picture

KC 8.3 I C

was a conservative who clashed against liberals regarding social issues and individual rights