The Women's Movement

Rebirth in the 1960's & the Feminine Mystique

Rebirth in the 1960's

President Kennedy appointed a Commission on the Status of Women in 1961


  • Equal Pay Act-1963
  • Highlighted the problems faced by women
  • Betty Frieden 1963- The Feminine Mystique
  • A "feminine mystique" stifled millions of women whose suburban imprisionment unnaturally deprived them of their creativity, careers, and their humanity.


National Organization for Women (NOW)

  • Founded in 1966
  • Founded by Betty Fredan and twenty-seven other professional woman
  • Prodded the federal government to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act

The Movement

Women had originally joined antiwar and student movements

  • Hundreds of thousands of women took part in consciousness-raising (CR) groups.
  • Discussions took place ranging from discrimination on the job, to boyfriends, and husbands.
  • These groups served as springboards for action.

The Problem

  • 1968, women's pay averaged less than 60% that of men
  • Fewer than 10% of the nation's doctors, lawyers, college professors, business executives, and architects were women in 1970

Women's Equity Action League

  • brought class-action suits against nearly 300 colleges and universities
  • Feminists used petitions and picketing to push employers to increase wages and open upper-level jobs to women
  • In August 1968, a group of women protested the Miss America pagent

"Ain't she sweet; making profits off her meat"

Roe v. Wade --1973

  • Independent heath care clinics run by and for women sprang up all over the country
  • Roe v. Wade guaranteed women access to abortions in the early stages of pregnancy
  • By the mid 1970's national opinions and expectations of women had begun to change.

The feminist challenge to traditional sex roles also encouraged the growth of the gay and lesbian rights movement

New York City, Stonewall Inn -- June 1969

  • Riots broke out and lasted several days
  • Gay patrons vs. Police officers
  • Homosexual men raised the demand for "Gay Power"
  • 1973 the American Psychiatric Association ended its classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder