10 Ordinary Things Women Weren’t Allowed In The 50’s And 60’s
Being of the generation of flower power and women’s rights movement that changed the rigid rules on almost everything that was acceptable prior to the 70’s, we sometimes forget that even 50 years ago, women were repressed and not considered equals in the marriage, work place and basically, just in general.
Young women today take for granted that they’re able to be what they want, wear what they want, go where they want and say what they want without interference from men or real judgment from mainstream society and carry a loud voice when a feminine injustice is exposed. But women who lived through the mid-20th century know that things weren’t always that way. Obviously, we have much progress still to make, but trust me, it used to be a whole lot worse.
Below is a list of 10 things women in this generation take for granted as a right that weren’t allowed just 50 or so years ago. Not such a long-time span when you consider that most women who experienced breaking those bonds are still alive to see their children and grandchildren enjoy the rewards of their marching, protesting, bra burnings and pushing the male dominated boundaries to get equal rights as men.
10 completely ordinary thing women weren’t allowed to do
- Maternity Leave. If a woman happened to have a job, she would lose it if she wanted to take any maternity leave before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
- Run in the Boston Marathon. In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to complete the race. She was pelted with ice cups as she ran and almost physically attacked by men on the sidelines. Women were not officially allowed to run the marathon until 1972.
- Open A Bank Account. It wasn’t until the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 that women were guaranteed the right to open a bank account or apply for credit in their own without permission from a husband or other male relative.
- Breastfeed In Public. This one is still a touchy subject but it wasn’t until May of 2015, that it became legal to feed you baby in a public place. You could actually get arrested for it. Idaho and South Dakota still forbid it. Seriously.
- Serve In Combat. Women have served the military in various capacities for decades but weren’t allowed on the front lines until 2013.
- Serve On A Jury. We could have skipped this privilege but it became legal for a woman to sit on a jury in all fifty states since Mississippi passed their law in 1968.
- Attend An Ivy League University. The big male dominated Ivy League Universities did not cave in and let women attend until l969. Harvard held out until 1977.
- Become An Astronaut. Sally Ride was the first woman to accomplish the feat in 1978. They had been putting their applications in for 10 years before finally accepted.
- Take Birth Control Pills. They finally were available with a prescription in 1960, but several states continued to ban them through the following decade. The states that held out the longest were bible belt Christian states that considered it genocide and a sin against God.
- Attend A Military Academy. I guess this isn’t much of a surprise, but West Point didn’t admit women until 1976, since the military has always and still is a male dominated domain. Women are still having to prove their worth as equals in the military and also faced an enormous amount of sexual harassment from their peers.
Susan Z’s Verdict
We have come a long way baby and still have a way to go. Now instead of male dominated legal rights women are fighting for, it is now pay discrimination and of course, sexual harassment in all areas of career choices. We continue to make progress for women’s right but let’s not forget the first “suffragettes” in the 1920’s and 30’s that started it all. They actually went to jail for their protests, lost their children and were divorced by their husbands! Now that is courage!
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