During the 1960’s there was a lot of major events that happened in the United States. The 1960’s was known as a decade of “culture and change”, there were lots of political and cultural changes. (Anastakis, 22) One particular movement that was important to society and the country was the Women’s Movement also called the “Feminism Movement”. The first women movement which happened a few decades before focused on gender equality and overcoming different legal problems. The 1960’s women’s movement focused more on different issues such as family, sexuality, workplace issues, and also rights of reproductively. (MacLean, 45) I chose to cover this topic because women have always been influential throughout history, and I being a woman it is important to know about our rights and who paved the way for us.
Women in the sixties were very limited on what they did. A woman was expected to marry in her twenties, and then start a family with her husband. A woman’s main duty was to raise her children, and focus on the home. Author Stephanie Coontz states in her book about sixties women, “The women is not to expect a whole lot out of life. She is someone’s keeper she is her husband and her children’s keeper.” (Coontz, 42) Back in those days, the husband was the head of the household; he made all of the decisions. If there was a divorce to take place the wife would end up with nothing, all the husband’s earnings and property belonged to the husband.
Even though, most women in the sixties were housewives there was a small percent of women who actually worked. Statistics shows that thirty eight percent of women worked jobs such as nursing, teaching, or being a secretary. (Bureau Statistics, 1960-1961) In this era, women were only allowed these types of jobs. Women were often turned away from higher profession programs. Despite being turned away, six percent of American doctors, three percent of American lawyers, and one percent of engineers were women. (Bureau Statistics.1960-1961) These women that had careers were paid very poor salaries compared to men. They were often denied higher positions, and not an increase in pay. Their employers often thought the women would quit, or become pregnant and quit.
As time progressed, women were starting to become fed up and tired of living in contentment. One woman stood up and wrote a book for the college graduate women who felt abandoned and unfulfilled. This woman’s name was Betty Friedan, she wrote a book called “The Feminine Mystique” she states in her book that “I’m desperate, I have started to lose my essence, and my personality is gone. I’m a cooker, and a putter of pants. Someone who is called on when wanting something. But who am I?” (Friedan, 117) When author, Betty Friedan released this book, it shocked the nation. The book called women to walk into their destiny, and to work outside of the home. Even though, Betty Friedan’s book spoke more to the educated, and upper class woman her book started the second...