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The New Women’s Movement

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Essay title: The New Women’s Movement

The New Women's Movement emerged in the 1960s with a reconditioned society. Women were moving into the labour force, their education levels were increasing, the birth rate was decreasing and the divorce level and single motherhood were rising, leaving behind new situations and experiences that opened up many unanswered questions and a new consciousness . The Kennedy Administration provided the atmosphere in which feminist roots could flourish. By establishing a Commission on women's affairs, Kennedy highlighted gender inequality. Then 'with the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women became the subject of national legislation for the first time since the 1920s' . Feminists gained strength as women who had never before realised their oppression took notice and wanted change . And bore the slogan, 'the sexes are equal; therefore sex roles must go' . Feminist built strategies and proposed goals about what would have the greatest potential for change, and began working on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), female representation in politics and recognition of women's history . Believing 'sexual politics created a model of gender based on class welfare and racial oppression' , they tried to find a solution. Their solution involved creating individual identity negotiated through life outside the home . They comprised objectives and imposed strategies to achieve goals. The New Women's Movement achieved little success and suffered failure at the hands of increasing opposition.

Feminists began to construct objectives to 'openly fight against the exploitation and oppression of women' . They set out first of all to destroy implanted ideology that women were ultimately weaker than men due to childbearing. By proving 'that women's and men's difference in roles were culturally based not biologically based' , they hoped to break down barriers. Feminists 'all insisted on an end to job discrimination all supported the repeal of abortion laws, and all urged the creation of twenty-four-hour-a-day child-care centers' . Above all they hoped to end class discrimination, the notion that instantly positioned women as housekeepers, secretaries, and child-rearers .

They aimed to break-down social constructions that positioned men as the "breadwinner" and women as housewife. The male and female difference is instituted from childhood, an example is, 'the kind of toys boys are given and the kind of toys girls are given' . Boys were expected to play with trucks, whereas girls barbie dolls. They rejected the assumption that men should carry the burden while women remain in the home . Finally denouncing America as a patriarchy society based on male supremacy and female inferiority .

Feminists set up task forces to address seven different areas of oppression; employment, education, religion, family, mass media, politics and female poverty . 'They fought for safe, effective, accessible contraception, the repeal of all abortion laws, the creation of high quality, community controlled child-care centers, and an end to the media's objectification of women. They also developed consciousness raising - the movements most effective organising tool' . They aimed to focus attention on the problems of 'rape, wife beating, sexual harrassment, child-care, displaced homemakers' and to inflict policy changes at every level of Government . One of the strongest objectives was to achieve emancipation through eliminating "masculine" and "feminine" spheres and giving both sexes the freedom to develop as individuals . The New Women's Movement aimed to achieve too much in too little time, but it still experienced success.

The Women's Movement experienced success as it achieved some of its proposed objectives. They persuaded Congress to enact; Title IX of the Education Amendment Act, which barred sex discrimination at any Colleges and Universities receiving Federal aid, tax benefits for parents with children in child-care, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act . They experienced success in obtaining equal credit access, in social security, sexual harrassment, equal treatment for pregnant workers, safegaurds in women's health, recognition of the plight of rape victims, battered women, displaced homemakers, increased awareness and changes within education.

Between 1972-1975 feminists fought for equal access to credit. Employed wives were not fully counted in credit applications, single women were discriminated against and divorced or widowed women found it extremely difficult to establish credit in their own name. Feminists gained victory in 1974 with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which meant both sexes were subject to the same conditions .

They fought against social security inequality

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