The Women’s Rights Movement was a big part of the 1960’s in the United States. These women continued the fight for their rights for decades before and helped make many of the opportunities available to women today possible. The movement focused on six major topics, legal rights, violence against women, reproductive choice, sexual freedom, employment opportunities/workplace discrimination, and political participation/representation. Millions of women fought for theses rights decades age and millions continue today to fight for gender equality.
The Women’s Rights Movement on the 1960’s focused on six major topics: legal rights, violence against women, reproductive choice, sexual freedom, employment opportunities/workplace discrimination, and political participation/representation. Legal rights gives women rights in marriage, such as allowing them the option to divorce and the ability to own and or inherit property. Being able to speak out against rape, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, and sexual slavery helped reduce the acts of violence against women.
Reproductive choice gives women freedom from forced sterilization, the option to choose birth control, and the right to choose whether to abort or carry a pregnancy to term. The freedom of sexual rights allows women to openly express their sexuality and claims for the same rights of LGBT and heterosexual couples. Employment opportunities give women the right to equal pay, maternity leave, access to all jobs, and avoidance of sexual harassment. The last major pillar of the movement is political participation and representation, which allows women to vote, join political parties, participate in civil society, and run for political office.
According to many scholars, “Women gain a shared sense of gender oppression through discrimination they experience in the course of their participation in other campaigns for social justice. These include movements for civil rights, revolution, nationalism, independence, and human rights. ” As the Women Rights Movement grew, women began to see themselves discriminated in many ways. During the 1960’s there were three women who had a major role in the Woman’s Rights Movement: Betty Friedan, Ida May Philips, and Jo Carol LaFleur.
Betty Friedan was a writer and mother who sent out a questionnaire to hundreds of women who went to Smith College and graduated fifteen years earlier just like her. She asked them questions about their lives since graduation and received surprising responses. She found that many middle class women were suffering from something she described as “the problem that has no name. ” () She then wrote The Feminine Mystique, a book about the roles of women after World War II and how they were not prepared for the certain roles they were expected to fulfill as children and adults, which grew into its own movement.
The book affected readers because it gave females the ability to gain equal rights and prove how it happened. Ida May Philips was a struggling single mother of seven children working as a waitress when she saw a job advertisement for Martin-Marietta Construction Company. Her application was rejected because she was a mother and the company claimed she would not be able to fully commit to the job while also parenting her children. “Phillips was dismayed that MartinMarietta would not even consider her application. She longed for a job with more regular hours and better pay than her waitressing job.
Phillips decided to sue the company under the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. She lost the case in the lower courts but refused to give up. Phillips approached the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, to ask for help from its Legal Defense Fund. ” With their help, she won her case and got her dream job. Jo Carol LaFleur was a junior high teacher in Cleveland, Ohio who loved her job but wanted to start a family with her husband. At the midway point of her pregnancy, she was asked to leave school and return months later.
She was advised that, “A visibly pregnant teacher might negatively influence the students. In addition, they worried about the district’s liability if a pregnant woman became injured on the job. They felt that a pregnant teacher would not be physically or mentally able to fulfill her duties. ” () She disagreed, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 1971 that Supreme Court ruled that forced maternity leave was unconstitutional. These women are just a few of the many that helped pave the way for women today. The women of the 1960’s had a huge impact on the lives of women today.
A few of the many women who spent their lives continuing the fight for equality include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Janet Libby Wolfenbarger. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first First Lady to pursue a political career of her own. She was elected for US Senator of New York State and served as US Secretary of State under President Obama. She was also the first female candidate of a major political party to be on the presidential ballot. To date, she has received more popular votes for president than any other white, male, presidential candidate.
With only 34 states having certified their votes and many more being counted, there is a chance her 65. 5 million votes could exceed Barak Obama’s 2012 count of 65. 9 million for the most votes ever (). However, she could still not be the first female POTUS. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the second female Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America who assumed office on August 10, 1993. Before she became a member of SCOTUS, she spent much of her time advocating for women’s rights. She was one of only nine women in her class at Harvard Law School.
Eventually she graduated from Columbia Law at the top of her class in 1959, but she could barely find a job because she was a woman. She is the second woman to teach full-time at Rutgers School of Law and the first tenured professor at Columbia Law School (). Today, Ginsburg is a cultural icon to many and is frequently referred to as “Notorious RBG” after her scathing dissent against Shelby County v Holder, a case that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Janet Libby Wolfenbarger is the first female Four Star General of the United States Air Force.
She received her first rank of Second Lieutenant on May 28, 1980, and received her last rank of Four Star General on June 5, 2012. She retired from the Air Force after 35 years of service as the highest-ranking woman (). These women continue to clear the path for the women of today and tomorrow. Three other women who are continuing the movement in today’s generation for gender equality are Mary Makela Barra, Becky Hammon, and Kamala Harris. Mary Makela Barra is the first women to become CEO of General Motors and has held strong her position since January 15, 2014, even ranking 6th on Fortune 500 in 2015 as the highest woman CEO ever.
Before her job as CEO, she served as Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at General Motors (). Becky Hammon was hired on August 5, 2014, and became the second assistant coach in NBA history and the first full time coach ever. She is now the first full time female assistant coach of all of the four major sports in North America: MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL (). Kamala Harris is California’s first female and minority Attorney General. In November 2016, she became the Indian/African American to be elected to the US Senate ().
These are just a few examples of women who keep fighting the patriarchy and proving that women are strong and capable of any job in this country. For 240 years, women have been fighting for equal rights in the United States of America. The women of the 1960’s continued the fight that started decades before and helped make many of the opportunities of today possible. Millions of women fought for theses rights decades age and millions continue today to fight for gender equality. The women focused on six major topics and sadly we are still fighting form most of them.