The Evolution of Women’s Rights Throughout the 1960s

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Prior to the 1960s there existed a sexual double standard. Women had no rights and were expected to be subordinate to men. Women were forced to stay at home and take care of the household and children and the men were the ones who were supposed to maintain the household economically. Once the Seneca Falls Convention in New York, which was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was established in 1848, women were beginning to gain their liberty from men. Throughout history, however, women have had many attempts to gain their independence from men. For example, the National Women’s Rights Convention in 1850, the American Women Suffrage Association, the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the National Organization for Women (NOW) were created to benefit women. These different attempts are named the different waves of the Feminist Movement. The book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, published in 1963 and spoke of middle class women being outraged at the fact that women were not allowed equality. The outrage triggered the Second Wave Feminist Movement, a more modern movement, and the fight for women’s sexual freedom and equal opportunities in the workplace. The Feminine Mystique and the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1960s as well as the incident in the Miss America pageant of 1968, influenced the lives of women in the U.S. in a positive way. Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique speaks of “the problem that has no name” which signifies the unhappiness women had during the 1960s and 1970s. The book specifies on the negativity women encounter in comparison to men and what middle class women had to withstand. Due to the publication of the book there came many outbursts mainly in forms of angry letters written by women around the world wanting to be treated equally to men (Suri).

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