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Women’s Movement of 1960’s

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Women’s Movement of 1960’s

The entire Women’s Movement in the United States has been quite extensive. It can be traced back to 1848, when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. After two days of discussions, 100 men and women signed the Declaration of Sentiments. Drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, this document called for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women. This gathering set the agenda for the rest of the Women’s Movement long ago (Imbornoni). Over the next 100 years, many women played a part in supporting equal treatment for women, most notably leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which allowed women the right to vote.

But when the “Women’s Movement,” is referred to, one would most likely think about the strides taken during the 1960’s for equal treatment of women. The sixties started off with a bang for women, as the Food and Drug Administration approved birth control pills, President John F. Kennedy established the President's Commission on the Status of Women and appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman, and Betty Friedan published her famous and groundbreaking book, “The Feminine Mystique” (Imbornoni). The Women’s Movement of the 1960’s was a ground-breaking part of American history because along with African-Americans another minority group stood up for equality, women were finished with being complacent, and it changed women’s lives today.

The Women’s Movement was significant in the 1960’s because yet another minority group was standing up for equality. Females across the nation started speaking out against gender inequality. Discrimination in areas such as the workplace, marriage, and government had

become overwhelmingly obvious and women started fighting back (Banks 207). This uprising coincided with the Civil Rights Movement. During the same time, African-Americans were standing up against segregation and for racial equality. These two movements went hand-in-hand, as they both had similar motives. Both women and blacks were fighting against oppression in their own country, and they benefitted from each other’s successes. But it wasn’t strictly these two minority groups standing up for themselves during this time, as Mexicans and Native Americans joined the cause too. They also spoke out against inequality by hosting similar protests and demonstrations as the black and women’s rallies. This showed how the 1960’s were a popular time for minority groups to take a stand and make their voices heard, and women were only one of the many groups of people who rallied for change during that time.

In the 1960’s, women had been placed in stereotypical roles for years. But women were tired of these roles and were done with being complacent. They felt like something was missing in their lives, and they desired something more. The typical American woman was married with a couple children, and her job consisted of taking care of her children, her husband, the house, and running errands. This was known as being a housewife. These women were beginning to get bored with the same monotonous jobs everyday: cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the family. The women who actually had legitimate jobs were most likely secretarial clerks, nurses or teachers. But women everywhere were ashamed to admit their dissatisfaction in their lives because they didn’t realize how many other women shared their same feelings. Betty Friedan realized this problem and in 1963 she brought it to light in her book “The Feminine Mystique.”

This influential best-seller pleaded to all Americans to reconsider the myth that women were fulfilled in their roles as housewives (Charters 493). Millions of women were enlightened to know it was not just themselves that were suffering discontent in their homes. This brought the women of America together and therefore initiated the Women’s Movement. With women’s issues out in the open and millions of women rallying together, optimism among females greatly increased in the 1960’s. They began to realize they did not have to be held to the “housewife” role as they had always been. More women went on to college to pursue higher education, and then hopefully an actual job in the workforce. The complacency that had clouded women for so long was slowly disappearing (Friedan, Feminine Mystique, 82).

Finally, the Women’s Movement changed the lives of women today. If the determined women of the 1960’s wouldn’t have finally taken a stand against unequal treatment, we could easily still be in the midst of a women’s movement. One can see that today’s world is greatly different than the one of the sixties. Many more women are working outside

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