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Social Movements and Trends Essay

The women’s role in American society had a major shift that reformed it which began in the 1960s. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s the “Women’s Liberation” movement evolved in an acceptable act. Although this time period was filled with tension, transformation, and misperception; it progressively became widely accepted and embraced by America. The rudimentary goals of the movement began to make sense to the American public. “Equal pay for equal work” was one the many accomplishments that came about during these three decades. The end to the acceptance of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and the sharing of household and child rearing duties were all a part the reform or change brought about through the “Women’s Liberation” movement.

There were several studies that were completed during the “Women’s Liberation” movement that had a major impact. One such study was the “The Second Sex” by Simone De Beauvoir. This study was brought about by the rebellious feminist trend that developed within the U.S. in the 1960s. During this time there were many militant women’s groups created. Radical feminists demonstrations were the driving force behind the “Women’s┬áLiberation Movement”.

This movement was more of a social platform rather than a political platform. One feminist who contributed significantly to the “Women’s Liberation” movement was Betty Friedan. In 1963 she wrote the book “The Feminine Mystique” to encourage women to use professional careers as a garnishment to marriage and motherhood. The National Organization for Women was started by Betty Freidan along with Paul Murray in 1966. The goal of this organization was simple. It helped women to attain economic, political, and social equality. They achieved this by challenging the institutional assemblies of society.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was another turning point for women. The Equal Pay Act was birthed through the amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act to require that men and women be paid the same wages when performing the same job. The act prohibited employers from paying women lower wages for jobs, positions, and duties that were identical to their male coworkers. The Equal Pay Act gained more of an impact with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Equal Opportunity Commission was birthed out of the Civil Rights Act which made it illegal to deny employment based on sex, race, religion or color. The case of Griswold v. Connecticut gave women the right to utilize birth control. This case ended all anti-birth control laws and established women’s right to privacy. The Roe v. Wade case of 1973 was another victory for women when it eradicated the federal and state bans on abortion because of their unconstitutional nature. The due process clause of the 14th amendment in this case was responsible for this eradication.

By 1970, with several acts and legislation being birthed forth, the women’s liberation movement had developed into full feminist movement. In 1971, the National Organization for Women and the National Women’s Political Caucus were formed adding to the liberation of women. This organization not only birth change for women but birth prominent feminists’ leaders such as Bell Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem. Various other organizations were a result of what was happing such as the Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council and the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1973.

The Equal Rights Amendment was passed in 1971 by the United States House of┬áRepresentatives and in 1972 by the Senate. The ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution was highlighted because of the growth of women’s liberation. This ratification cause was sparked by a coalition of conservative women’s groups who headed a movement against feminism.

Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment needed the support of 38 states which it did not get. Continued efforts to ratify the constitution have still been unsuccessful, but numerous states have added equal rights clauses to their constitutions.

The 1980s brought about a lot of first for women in the U.S. In 1981, the first female Supreme Court Justice, 1983 brought about the first female astronaut, and in 1984 we had the first female major-party nominee on a presidential ticket. Women’s rights have journeyed a long way since the 1960s, but as with any journey there is still progress to be made. Full equality for women in the United States is constant and more intricate than ever before.

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PASSAGE OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT series: NO. 40 IN A SERIES.

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