10 Things That American Women Could Not Do Before the 1970s

1960 womenIn the 1970s, Irish women could not own their own home or even go to a pub. They could not sit on a jury or refuse to have sex with their husbands. We learned all this in Irish Central’s charming post, “How things have changed – ten things that Irish women could not do in 1970s.” And that made us wonder, what were things like for women in America before the ’70s?

So while we still have a long way to go to secure total equality for women, let’s take a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come. Before the 1970s, an American woman could not:

1. Keep her job if she was pregnant.

Until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, women could be fired from their workplace for being pregnant.

2. Report cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The first time that a court recognized sexual harassment in the workplace was in 1977 and it wasn’t until 1980 that sexual harassment was officially defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

3. Be acknowledged in the Boston Marathon.

Women could not don their running shoes until 1972!

4. Get a credit card.

Until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, women were not able to apply for credit. In 1975, the first women’s bank was opened.

5. Refuse to have sex with her husband.

The mid 70s saw most states recognize marital rape and in 1993 it became criminalized in all 50 states. Nevertheless, marital rape is still often treated differently to other forms of rape in some states even today.

6. Compete as a boxer in the Olympics.

It wasn’t until the 2012 London Olympics that women could compete in boxing in the Olympics. This was marked with the amazing victory by Britain’s Nicola Adams.

7. Get a divorce with some degree of ease.

Before the No Fault Divorce law in 1969, spouses had to show the faults of the other party, such as adultery, and could easily be overturned by recrimination.

8. Celebrate International Women’s Day.

In 1980 President Carter declared one week in March to be National Women’s History Week, including International Women’s Day on March 8th.

9. Have a legal abortion in most states.

The Roe v. Wade case in 1973 protected a woman’s right to abortion until viability.

10. Read Ms. Magazine!

Ms. was launched as a sample inset in New York Magazine in 1971.

Photo courtesy of thstrand via Creative Commons 2.0.

Comments

  1. Until 1972, female Foreign Service Officers were required to resign when they married. Wives also had their own block on their husbands’ annual evaluation for their performance as a hostess. Wives of junior Foreign Service Officers were often required to act as maids at ambassadors’ parties (depending on the ambassador’s wife).

    • I well recall as a relatively young member of the Foreign Service, my evaluation included comments about the status of my relationship with my then wife. Many capable female Foreign Service officers were compelled to resign when they married or, heaven forbid that they would question the utility of being handmaidens for wives of ambassadors or other senior officers. Were that a requirement today, the institution would collapse.

  2. Every war is a war against women!

    • Robert Knight says:

      Wars are bad but they’re not against women in particular.

    • Gary Friedman says:

      Without getting into the minutia of the Afghan war and how it will probably revert to Taliban control when US forces are gone, thousands of women now go to school and engage in many other activities prohibited to them before the US war there. So only some wars are against women.

  3. Title IX gave girls equal access to education and all it involves Prior to title IX pregnant girls were denied an education!

    • Before Title IX, most universities – even large ones – had NO women’s sports programs. They all had cheerleading squads, though, which is why it will hurt women’s sports if the NCAA recognizes cheerleading as a sport. Cheerleading doesn’t need the help.

  4. VIVIAN BREGMAN says:

    I graduated from college in 1957. I wanted to be a veteranian, but was told that I could either teach Biology or be a nurse. Women couldn’t be vets in those days. Today more than half of the vets in vet school are female. Instead I became a dog trainer back in 1963.

  5. We have come a long way…and still have a ways to go.

    • Indeed, women have come a long way. I understand that urologists are described as men’s gynecologists and that field has been largely male-dominated. Almost protectively so. I guess it’s a sign of the times that, following a nasty accident which resulted in trauma to my testicles, I was referred to a female urologist. Not only that, not an eyebrow was lifted when she deemed it necessary to remove my testicles, and performed the bi-lateral orchiectomy herself. So, yes, women have come a long way.

  6. Susan Skorc says:

    I turned 18 in 1967. When I was in school, we had to wear skirts or dresses even in frigid weather.
    We got a fraction of the gym time that boys got, and often had to give up our part of the gym to them. We couldn’t take shop, and had to take Home Economics, which I hated. When women got the right to have an abortion, I felt immense relief that if I was raped, I would not have to give birth to a rapists’ baby. I was ecstatic that birth control pills were available to me if I needed them, but I was so angry and frustrated that the Equal Rights Amendment was not passed in the 70′s, and that even women were against it! I get very angry to this day when I hear someone say the word feminism in a nasty way, especially other women. They owe a great debt to the women before them that withstood ridicule and worse in order for all women to have the rights we have. Thank you to all feminists for their courage and tenacity!

    • Jonathan Kover` says:

      Thank you for sharing that.

    • Susan, you have voiced my thoughts so perfectly! I am only a year younger than you and I remember when…… And I get so annoyed at women who bat their lashes and play the helpless female/help me/tell me what to do role. I was lucky to be raised by (for their day) liberated parents- and in the South yet. Sometimes women are the greatest enemies of equality, even though they usually carry the biggest burden.

    • Brooke Dolby says:

      Amen!
      I graduated in 1972. When my girlfriends would get married, it was unacceptable for them to be “cavorting” with me (a single woman).
      When I got married in 1976, I needed to have my husbands written consent before I could have any surgeries (major or minor).
      I think we could ALL enlighten the younger generation as to what we already fought for and am looking to loose again because they just don’t understand what these reversal of our rights is leading to.

    • merilyn says:

      I got around the skirts only rule at school by wearing culottes. They are pants that look like a skirt. Boys had to have short hair and there was a todo when the Beatles came out and the boys grew their hair longer. I wanted to take shop but had to take HomeEc instead. My mom had to get a male cosigner to get a mortgage and we could not rent a rototiller as they said women were not strong enough to use them and we also got half the pay that men and boys got . They got more because they had famlies to feed as if we girls did not have kids and hubbies who deserted. Well it is better but not better all the way. We still are shortchanged on the pay and job promotion.

    • ArtFart says:

      This may be going a little off-topic, but in retrospect it might have been better not to eliminate the “home ec” requirement for girls, but extend it to boys as well. If there hadn’t been so many kids reaching young adulthood in the last few decades thinking that “cooking” means making instant mac-and-cheese or popping Hot Pockets in the microwave, we might not be struggling with our current epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

    • Even after girls were allowed to take shop classes in the 1970s, I still couldn’t take the regular shop class. It was shop for girls – no power tools!

  7. Trudy Beth Bond says:

    It is disappointing that this article fails to mention the interspousal tort immunity in virtually every state’s laws that prevented a married woman from suing her husband for assault, rape, or any other harm she suffered at his hand. These laws didn’t start to be overturned until the mid to late 70′s. The reason for the immunity? A married woman didn’t exist separate from her husband so how could she sue him. Overturning those laws was essential to advancing the cause of each and every woman as a “person” with all the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  8. Which makes Facebook’s decision this week to bow under pressure and deal with the violently misogynistic content on its pages even more momentous. Yes, we have come a long way, and there’s still a long way to go!

  9. Bette Kelley says:

    Not sure, but pretty sure I had a credit card before 1974-probably about 1972

    • Correct..I had credit cards in 1968. My mom always had credit cards in the 50s and 60s but they may have been under my fathers name. She controlled the money!

      • Vivianne says:

        She may have had the cards, but he had the credit! I worked in the vault at a large department store at that time. One trouble with divorce was the woman would have no credit record and the man had it all. No credit= no apartment, house to buy, nothing.

        • Ruth Casey says:

          When I divorced in 1982, it was a very big deal that JC Penney and Kaufman’s department store sent me letters stating that they were willing to issue credit cards to me based on my own credit. Since I had been in the work force for almost 20 years and made more money than my ex-husband, it’s clear that I hadn’t been considered as a potential customer when the original applications for credit were made.

      • you mom did not have a credit card, she had USE of one.. she could not have gotten one in her name, it had to be in her husbands name.. control or no control, the card was not her’s/

    • They could give you a credit card, but they didn’t have to…it was perfectly legal to discriminate against us. It was illegal to discriminate in hiring too, but they did it anyway.

  10. Sheila A. Donovan says:

    Flight attendants had to be single. They were fired when they got married. Many were married, but had to hide that fact. Also, they could not have hair long enough to touch their shoulders. It had to be shorter than shoulder length. I wasn’t a flight attendant, but I worked for the airlines from 1968 to 1985. In 1971, I worked for Pacific Southwest Airlines. The flight attendants had to wear hotpants. The reservations department had uniforms. They were hotpants or micro-miniskirts. We wanted slacks. Slacks were forbidden. Hard to believe in this day and age that women weren’t allowed to wear slacks or pantsuits to work!

    • My mom was a flight attendant for Delta in the 70s – they had weekly weigh-ins! She’s told me stories of her coworkers taking off their underwear and pantyhose just to shave off a few extra ounces to make weight.

      • Shoot! I was a Flight Attendant for Pan Am from 85 to 90 and we had to be weighed and wear high heels while walking through the airports. We also had to wear regulation red nail polish and regulation red lipstick.
        In the 60s we could not wear pants to elementary school.

  11. You can still be fired for being pregnant, if you’re employed under at-will conditions. They just have to make it look like something else was the reason.

  12. Martha Conway says:

    After I was born (in 1961), my mom wanted to get her tubes tied. The doctor refused because-he said- she and my dad might want more kids. I was the 5th born, and my mom was 36. My dad even hemmed/hawed about getting a vasectomy, until my mom bought him a cheese cutting board for Christmas-a little guillotine. He got one shortly afterward!

    • Mary Abel says:

      Same with my mom…in 1970, at age 27 with four children under the age of 7, she had to have my father’s signed permission to have her tubes tied. He signed it, but still!

      • That crap went on well into the 90′s. A friend of mine who was married in ’93 told me of the trouble she had getting her tubes tied: the doctor demanded that she get her husband’s permission, because he didn’t want her “sneaking off & doing it behind his back (WTTE).” To his credit, her husband chewed out the doctor for treating his wife like an idiot. Another married friend of mine around the same time had a vasectomy – without one bit of lip from his doctor!

    • Darlene Richardson says:

      Funny Martha! LOL!

  13. Lucy Lewis says:

    I had a credit card in 1972, but after I was married I was required to have it put in my husband’s name, not my married name, my husband’s name, before we could use it.

    • You could get a credit card, but there was no law against discrimination. They could legally discriminate against women if they chose to.

  14. When my parents divorced in 1968 my mother’s credit cards were cancelled by the credit companies.

  15. anne pattillo says:

    Ha! Just wait until Sharia law is enforced in the United States of America!

    • Kai Thogmartin says:

      Don’t be stupid! Jeez! There will never be such a thing! Grow up and get educated!

    • In America, I’m not afraid of the Muslims, I’m afraid of the conservative Christians.

    • Brooke Dolby says:

      That’s why we have to stop letting the Repubes take more and more of our rights away again. They are already doing their best to mandate portions of Sharia law. It is very sad.

    • I can’t see that happening any time soon. You’re an alarmist.

  16. Wendy Valhoff says:

    In 1976 I had a pretty good job and made a bit more than my husband did. We decided to buy a new Volkswagon, which wasn’t very expensive at all at that time. We filled out the required forms and were told to come back in a few days to pick up the car. When we did, the dealership manager said we didn’t make enough money to buy the car, as they couldn’t count my salary. They said that I might pregnant and then I would lose my job, so my salary couldn’t be figured into our income.

    In 1979 I had been separated from my husband for a year and I lived in a different state than he did. I went to AAA and got car insurance as Mrs Jerry Wagers, as he insurance company wouldn’t accept my name since I was married. I had to pay an extra fee to open a new account. A year later I was divorced and when I paid my insurance premium, I mentioned my divorce. Within days my insurance was cancelled. I went in to inquire and I was told that since I was married when I got the policy, it was my husband’s policy, even though they had never talked to him, he hadn’t signed for the insurance, and he had never driven the car. If I wanted my own policy, I would have to pay the extra fees a second time to open a new account in my name.

    In 1979, while I was married, but separated, I paid off a mortgage that my husband and I had both signed on because he had ceased to make payments. I also bought a car and paid it off. After getting a divorce, I was told by my bank that I had no credit rating, but my ex-husband’s credit rating was excellent. If I wanted to get a loan or buy a big ticket item on credit, I would need a co-signer. It was suggested that maybe my ex-husband could co-sign for me.

  17. When I was in high school in the mid-1960s, if a girl got pregnant, whether she was married or not, she had to drop out of school and get her education at night. Some years later I worked for a department store, and the personnel manual said that as soon as a woman’s pregnancy made her “unfit to be on the sales floor” because of her appearance, she had to resign.

  18. Jane Stanley says:

    Thank you to all the women who came before me, who fought the hard fights to give women our rights!

  19. Jozie Shackett says:

    I’m pretty sure I had my first credit card in 1972.

  20. Bobbie Suarez says:

    My mom was a single mom to 5 young children in the 1960′s. She worked as a grocery checker. The only reason she had full-time employment is because she worked more than two stores to get 40 hours and she was inadvertently locked in to full time (through the union) because of that. She worked the 2:00pm to 11:00pm shift because, as her boss told her, “the men had families they needed to get home to”. We only saw her when she had a day off.

  21. In 1990(!) I graduated from a top law school and was offered a job at one of the most prestigious law firms in NYC. But I was appalled when I was informed that women were not allowed to wear pants to work there. To their credit I was still offered the job despite the fact that I made a stink about the policy during my interview. But there was no way I was taking that job. Never regretted it.

    • I had a job where I had to wear skirts – no pants – in 1993! I was appalled they’d have such a rule, but I was young and didn’t have any sense of whether it was illegal or just inappropriate. In any case, I took the job. It was terrible!!

  22. Irish women still can’t get an abortion – witness the death of a woman last year, when doctors stood by her bed in the hospital for three days and let her die, rather than abort a fetus that had no chance of survival.

  23. Are we to assume that these developments of over time have had no genesis, or is it just the oppressive male superstructure of today. I agree that in the context of the present these are great injustices which need to be over turned. However the world has been in transition, at least try to consider the evolutionary development which lead to this injustice, a process in which women played their role quite voluntarily. The blame game just pisses people off, but, admittedly if it works for you, the desire to use it must be overwhelming.

    • I guess Sally Hemings “voluntarily” slept with Thomas Jefferson, too, huh? There is no “voluntarily” when you HAVE NO ACTUAL CHOICE.

      • Actually, I’d say she probably did. Remember, it wasn’t just ONE child. They had at least six together.

    • Nora Miller (@nmillaz) says:

      “women played their role quite voluntarily”?? Let’s see…sure, women “voluntarily” gave up the right to own property (how do you give up something you never had?) and they “voluntarily” agreed not to vote (how do you vote to have the vote if you aren’t allowed to vote?) and they “voluntarily” left jobs when they got pregnant (it had nothing to do with their male supervisors removing them from the payroll and giving their jobs to some more “voluntary” woman who had so far avoided that unseemly state) and they “voluntarily” had every baby they were impregnated with, even after rape (since the “voluntary” alternative was to self-abort and possibly die). Yep, women bought right into all that stuff, just like blacks “voluntarily” worked as slaves on all those plantations. So they have no reason to complain about all that, right??

      • Brooke Dolby says:

        Evidently “Boagie” misunderstands completely.
        Soooooo many of us had to fight for our rights because we DIDN’T like it or “take” it. My grandmother fought, then my Mother, then I have and now the women of today need to continue the fight because we are loosing our rights again due to Repubes trying to legislate our bodies, minds and souls. Yet, they refuse to legislate ANYTHING ELSE. Their only interests are to coddle the big bucks and climb back into their momma’s.

  24. I got my first credit card in 1968. In 1970 I got married and submitted a name change request. The card came back in my husband’s name. He had no credit, was a college student, had no job, and I was supporting us both. So much for being a responsible, grown up, adult. I didn’t exist any more..

  25. Rainbough Phillips says:

    I was forced to resign from my last job after having a child. They were actually very supportive while I was pregnant, but when I returned from maternity leave their attitude changed. I was only able to take 6 weeks off for maternity leave because the only benefit I got was their agreement not to fire me while I was gone. When I returned I worked shorter shifts than before and could not pick up extra hours because of the child care expense.

    My boss, a woman with four kids, started telling everyone I was a bad therapist and refused to work weekends (she repeatedly blocked me from working weekends, I had to talk her husband into putting me on the weekend schedule), then she would tell my clients (massage therapy) that I was not available when I was, and new clients that no therapist were there when I had a wide open schedule. Then one day she sits me down and says that my schedule had been dropping off because clients didn’t like me. In her words: “You were a good therapist until you became a mother.” I had already collected enough evidence at that point to know that she was lying. I had to eavesdrop on clients after I massaged them to see if they complimented me or complained, and they consistently said I was great, plus I had multiple clients find me and contact me on facebook to tell me about the problems they were having getting an appointment.

    I do not know what this woman’s problem was with new mothers, but she was always telling me: “I think your tired, you look too tired, maybe you should take more time off. I think you are hormonal.” etc. I talked to the local EOE office about the discrimination, and they told me that new mother discrimination was common, but hard to prove especially if it happened at the hands of another woman. It is not specifically covered under equal opportunity laws, and therefore I have to find evidence or witnesses to confirm gender discrimination. I could prove that they were discriminating against me, but not that it had anything to do with my gender, in spite of my boss’s explicit admission that it was because I was a new mother. I eventually quit and started my own massage therapy business. It was still an incredibly frustrating experience. I was a highly requested therapist before having my child and I worked right up until the day before he was born, then all of a sudden I was penalized for not taking enough time off when I couldn’t afford to, and for prioritizing my child over my job. She once got very upset when I refused to let her schedule me at 10pm when we closed at 9pm?! I do not know why one mother would treat another this way.

  26. Roxanne (5/29) says: “I DO agree that we women SHOULD have equal rights. That we should be able to get a job and play on the same sports teams as men. I am glad those rights were fought for, but the problem is that the consequences have completely gone overboard. You all said it yourselves: before the 70s, women really couldn’t get a job if they were married or got pregnant. Women bristled at the idea that they were good for nothing but having babies and staying home to raise them. (I don’t understand this since that was always my goal in life.)”

    Personally, I find it rather appalling that some women actually believe that “the fight for women’s equality has gone overboard” or something equally ridiculous. When I see this kind of backward-thinking statement, it’s rather alarming, to me anyway, especially when a woman expresses such an argument. Why any woman would willingly go backward, into an era when women had very little or even no rights, is beyond me.

    There are still those (the ultra-right male conservatives mostly, but sadly some women too) who seem to feel that the only valid functions for women are marriage, motherhood, and nothing else. I guess the archaic, 19th-century “cult of true womanhood” is still alive, even in the 21st century. But there are women who don’t choose to get married or have children and prefer to be single, financially independent, career women instead. The ability to choose whether to get married or not, have children or not, to choose your own career instead of getting jobs “assigned” by gender, is the gift of feminism. If some women want to reject feminism as individuals, that’s their choice. I just don’t want the “choices” of conservatives and anti-feminists imposed on me and all women who want more than just “children, cooking, church.”

  27. My two cents – please don’t look with pity or judge all the women in developing countries who are fighting for what American women fought for in the 70s and 80s. They will get there without the harsh scrutiny of the west saying – look they are so backward.

    Remember your stuggles and encourage them!

  28. Analisa Loder says:

    As a woman, mother , grandmother and business owner, I am greatful to all the woman before me that have fought for the oportunities that my granddaughters will be able to have and that I have today. We have come a long way as women, but we still have more to go. I hope that in my lifetime I can see more changesw and help be a part of them. Thank you to all the woman who have helped pave the way.

  29. Didn’t Playgirl come out in the 70′s?

  30. Janet Greenlee says:

    I was an MBA student at UCLA in 1978. My concentration was Accounting Information Systems. When I went for an interview at a large public accounting firm, the recruiter said that I “could be a bookkeeper, full-charge, of course.” I teach accounting now and none of my female students believe me. Many other stories no one believes either!! We need to write a book!!

  31. Women could not obtain mortgages on their own in the 1970s either. They would be told that they might get pregnant and then would not be able to work and therefore could not pay back the loan.

  32. As a graduate student in 1969-70, I did have a charge account at a local clothing store and a Sears credit card in my own name, but when I got married and contacted them to change my name, they insisted that the account had to be transferred to my husband and that he would have to give me permission to have a duplicate card. We decided never to shop at Sears again, ever, and developed a strategy for building my credit record.

    I had a friend, a divorced woman with a very good job, who was denied a mortgage because she was a single woman…while a man we knew with a much smaller income sailed right through on his house purchase. Now I own my own home, my own business, have all my own finances under my own name and control my own life. Things sure have changed! But we have a lot further to go to secure those changes and make future changes for the benefit of women (and men).

  33. I’m a military spouse, and at 32 years old with one child, I cannot get a tubal ligation without my husband’s consent. Their rules are only a woman over 36 or with two or more children, and you still have to get your spouses sign off on it.

  34. Mary Glynn says:

    Hi

    when I was in public school the women teachers had to hid the fact they were going to get married. the minute the told they were pregnant they were fired. never understoood this as many of the children Mothers at home were pregnant.

    I worked for the Bell system. you could not were slacks to work dresses or skirts. (men had duit coat and tie.
    Soon as you were pregnant you were out.
    Women in Managment never got the same pay for doing the same work. men had families to support. Women were taking jobs away from men.
    Men would always be promoted and giving rasies even if it was the woman who did all the work.
    Parents would leave everything to sons even though they were married and had homes. the daughter that stayed home and took care of thier parents 24/7 was left nothing. I knew a women she quit her job to stay home and care for her parents and nieces and jnephew. (Mom died of cancer. she had 2 brothers and brother in law. Thebrother in law remarried and left. she was taking care of bother parents who were in a a couple of aunts. she found out the boys (brothers) were going to get every thing. in the will. She stood up to her parents and demand they change or she would leave. This poor gorl had no job or any where to go. He parents changed will and left the house and most of the easte to her. This was done all the time. The woman many in 50 we thrown out of home when the parents died. the Brothers would just sell the house and give her nothing.

    still happens today

  35. Single women could get credit…I had a credit card while I was in college in the late 60s, early 70s. Married women, however, had credit in their husbands’ names. I remember when that law was passed. My parents looked like they were headed for a divorce and I told both of them that mom needed to put credit her name now that it was allowed. I was ignored and four years later they divorced. My mom eventually established credit in her own name but it was more of a hassle than it needed to be during the time immediately after they were separated.

  36. Cactus Wren says:

    Anybody remember separate classified-ad sections, “Help Wanted — Men” and “Help Wanted — Women”?

  37. In 1980 my wife applied for a clerical job with a hospital in Portland, Oregon. She was asked as part of the interview if she was planning on having children in the next couple of years as the last two women had left due to pregnancy. She said no, which was the truth. We later discussed this, thinking that it was pretty intrusive but decided not to complain as she needed the job. She got it and we promptly decided that we DID want children soon. About a week later she started having morning sickness! We thought this was rather funny, she was already pregnant at the interview, we just didn’t know it.

    Yes, times have changed for the better, even though the US is still way behind Europe.

  38. katewill says:

    I wrote National Merit level SATs in 1969, my junior year of high school. In the guidance counselor’s office, I sat across from a woman who looked up from my file and said, “Do you want to be a teacher or a nurse?” Those were my best options. Later I went to a small engineering school, and when my dad heard that I’d been accepted, he said, “That’s great. You’ll probably marry an engineer.” It’s hard to explain how utterly normal it used to be to assume that the constraints on women’s work lives were reasonable and just. My dad was not meaning to be unkind; it just didn’t occur to him that I might actually BE an engineer. Likewise, that guidance counselor was operating within the only system she knew about, and that system said that smart girls had a couple of good options, which they would be wise to take.

    • I had a similar experience – after winning a National Merit Scholarship in 1969, my guidance counselor called me in (for the first time) and told me that I had better be sure my typing was good, because he didn’t think I could get into college.
      When I married in 1974, I did not change my name and the banks had a cow figuring out how to handle it. Finally the card was issued in my husband’s name with me as a co-user. Same with our mortgage (which I paid off after he left). It was only after I was divorced that I began to build credit in my own name.
      My mother still could not get credit in her own name in South Carolina in 1990.

  39. Maria Hein says:

    When I married in 1974 I had been living in my own apartment, paying my own utility bills and managing my own bank account for two years, all things my husband had not yet done. Yet when I added him to MY bank accounts he automatically became the primary owner. His name still tops mine (I kept my own name at marriage) on the statements to this day. However, we recently bought a new car and decided to finance it. When both credit histories were run mine was 7 points higher than his. It’s MY name that appears first on the title–AND on the loan documents. I guess I’ve finally come a long way.

  40. Janellewalker says:

    Thank you to all of the women telling your stories here. I was born in 1972, and it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do so many of the things you all are talking about. Never considered that I couldn’t get credit in my own name, or get whatever job I wanted in whatever field I wanted. I do know that at my first job out of college, in 1995, my boss flat out told me that although I was doing the same thing (often better) than the guy who had the job before me, he paid me a LOT less than that guy … because he had a family to support. yeah, he had child support to pay. I had overwhelming college debt. I was asked once, maybe 13 years ago, by a lady at my parent’s church in Minnesota, if I was a teacher or a nurse. I think she was shocked when I said journalist in Chicago suburbs. We’ve come a long way …

  41. Teresa Barrett says:

    The post here invites people to speak their minds. Fact: People speaking their minds is what got our country in the state it’s in today! So I will not speak my mind but I will say this and would love to, shout it from the rooftops. America turn back to God!!! I as a woman used to feel the same way you do about woman’s rights. I became a born again Christian back in the mid-80′s and began to study the bible and seek God’s face. He said, seek and you shall find and boy did I find. First of all, I found out, that it does not matter what I think. The only thing that matters is, what God says about anything and he did not leave anything out. He has an answer for anything you want to know. After spending just a few months, really studying the bible and seeking God, he showed me, that there are millions of people, who are just like I was. They think they know him, they are deceived by the God of this world, just like I was.
    Women seeking women’s rights are one of the things that has taken this country so far from God. A woman’s place is in the home taking care of the children not out working trying to give the children everything they want. God did not say he would supply all of our wants, he said he would meet our needs. There’s a big difference. Now America has a lot of children who are grown, either still dependent upon their parents or living off the government. When you give your children everything they want, they never learn to be responsible.
    According to the word of God, women are to be submissive and never take authority over a man. Now many women rule in the local, state, federal government, the business world, in the church and in the home. Is it any wonder our nation, states, local governments, schools, businesses, churches and homes are in the mess, that they are in today. All down through time when people disobeyed God, there was destruction and a price to pay. Sure we have given to the kingdom of God, some of us, even to the point of sacrifice but his word says that obedience is better than sacrifice. It makes no difference how much time or money you give the church. If you do not seek God’s face, read and obey his word, in the end he will say unto you. Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you!

    • The Bible says a lot of things that are no longer relevant. Women as leaders has nothing to do with the state of the country. Please come back when you can present a rational argument.

  42. In 1969, as a 24-year-old female who had worked full time for 6 years, I could not buy car insurance without a man, I could not finance a small purchase without a male signature, I could not rent an apartment alone (because it was scandalous), and I could not apply for jobs without a typing test. I rebelled when I tried to take classes at the state university where I was employed full-time and would be paying my own tuition. I was told I had to provide my parents’ address so they could evaluate my in-state tuition status and so they could send my grades to my parents though I had been employed full time AT THE SAME UNIVERSITY for most of the years after graduation from a state high school, and I had never lived out of state. I went all the way to the vice president of the school and insisted that I should be evaluated as a state resident on my own merits and that my grades should be sent TO ME, and not to my parents. As far as I know, I was the first female given that “privilege.” I worked at the university at night so I could take classes by day, but I applied for a similar evening position at higher pay at a private business. They had no qualms about refusing to interview me because “a woman should not be working at night.” I filed a complaint with some government agency about discrimination. For several years, they contacted me once a year to see if I still wanted to pursue the case. I always said that I did, but they eventually stopped calling me. Nothing ever came of it. There is more to this story in terms of male/female issues, but much of it is too painful to recount.

  43. Teresa Barrett said: “Women seeking women’s rights are one of the things that has taken this country so far from God. A woman’s place is in the home taking care of the children not out working trying to give the children everything they want. God did not say he would supply all of our wants, he said he would meet our needs. ”
    **********

    Teresa, it’s not for you to decide for me — or any other woman for that matter — what “a woman’s place” is. Thanks to all the wonderful women who fought the hard political battles before us, each woman gets to decide that for herself. That is always a very good thing. Personally, I rejected the “woman must be submissive” ideology long ago, choosing instead to get a good vocational education after graduating from high school and after that, a good job that gave me the gift of financial independence. I’m very glad I had parents who encouraged me to pursue those goals and didn’t try to restrict me to the “traditional woman’s path” of marriage, motherhood, and nothing else.

  44. Rachele says:

    I do not think Roe v Wade is a GOOD thing for women but an interesting article none the less. I think access to birth control IS a great victory for women but abortion is bad for women’s health mental and physical!

  45. Friday Foster-ABWW (@eshowoman) says:

    Black women could not get rapists prosecuted due their naturally hyper-sexual nature. Google Joanne Little.

  46. Rachele said: “I do not think Roe v Wade is a GOOD thing for women but an interesting article none the less. ”
    ******************************

    Personally, I think Roe v. Wade remaining in place is essential for women, for the simple reason that it gives each woman the ability to decide for herself whether to continue a pregnancy or not. That ability is what makes reproductive freedom possible for all women in the U.S. It would be even better if reliable contraception were offered to all women free of charge, especially women in very hard economic circumstances.

  47. Victoria Lehman says:

    These comments are AMAZING! Like a living history lesson! But when I hear that in Manitoba, Canada the allegedly progressive jurisdiction in which I live, women on our Boards total only 6% (and that includes government boards), I realize that we are just consumers, with no real say in the economy. And those of us who own our own businesses and have some little bit of self-determination and independence, get no “coddling” or support, and only the hardest times from banks, etc. We are still seen as some sort of dog walking on hind legs, even after 30 years of dedicated professional work. And there is no guarantee that women will support our enterprises, working as employees for lenders, etc. either. Because in these days, most of the “front-line” people are women, and they bitterly know they will be unlikely to advance or achieve anything approximating their efforts, compared to their male colleagues, to this day. It is as if so much has been laid on women, with so many expectations that take up all our time, that we are hard-pressed not to continue to be the “botton-feeders” that one of my legal colleagues in the largest law firm in town called herself years ago. “La Lutte continue”, as the Free French said in World War ll…

  48. Before 1970, women in many religious traditions couldn’t be clergy. In some denominations, they were allowed to be ministers but they weren’t well accepted. Churches started creating task forces and committees on women to change attitudes and address deep issues of sexism in their traditions. Now many seminaries have substantial numbers of women. Over the past 40 years, feminists have made connections between issues of race, gender, sexuality, and other experiences of injustice so that the entire spectrum of women’s diversity (and men’s) has been addressed more holistically. Changes in religious traditions have had a profound influence on changes in American society, and vice versa.

  49. In 1969, my principal handed me my resignation and said “Sign here.” My pregnancy was just beginning to show. And this was at a rural school where kids were breeding and raising their own livestock! Our joint checking account didn’t list my first name–only Mrs……. When we went house hunting, neither the bank nor the real estate agent included my income when considering how much house we could afford. Fortunately we found a house, abandoned airbase housing, that allowed us to move in for the cost of the first year’s insurance. There was a glut of empty houses just outside of the base that owners, bankers, and realtors wanted occupied at any price.

  50. You couldn’t get an appointment to a US service academy or be an aviator in the US military. Additionally in my hometown you couldn’t wear pants to school, skirts or dresses only.

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