The women’s revolution of the 60s and 70s, dubbed “second phase” of feminism, meant a sudden break with the idyllic existence portrayed in mainstream culture in America. Yet the new revolt had its roots concerns of educated moms whose unhappiness pushed their daughters in a novel path. If first-phase of feminists was motivated by abolitionist movement, their great-grand-daughters were pulled o feminism via civil rights associations, the accompanying debate of fundamental values e.g., justice and equality, and radical excitement generated by anti-Vietnam conflict rallies. This is the reason why feminist gloria in defining the movement provided her work to women to develop self-esteem to catapult the revolution (pg. 322). Women’s matters were on John Kennedy’s agenda when this communal debate started. He created a Commission on Women Status in 1961 and chose Eleanor as its chairwoman. The commission report in 1963 defended nuclear families and promoted women’s preparation for parenting. Nevertheless, it revealed a widespread trend of employment discrimination, unequal pay, legal inequality, and insufficient support programs for female employees that required to be discussed through lawmaking assurances of pay equality, equal job opportunities, and extensive childcare services (pg. 324). Later in 1971, feminism philosophy was accepted and attained in the mainstream when congresswoman, Martha Griffiths’ Joint House Resolution No. 208., was adopted with 24 nays, 354 yeas, and seven persons not involved in voting (pg. 34). This saw the Equal Right Amendment finally presented to the 92nd Congress to national legislatures and the ratification scheme was set rolling.
Women have participated in public life and politics for a long period of time, before the 19th reforms that granted them the right to vote in 1920, however women’s political advocacy took a huge leap forward in the 60s. In 1984, Geraldine was nominated as Mondale’s running mate for presidential elections marked a watershed moment. She became the first woman to be nominated on a significant political party’s national ticket. Ferraro represented a strongly ethnic, working-class community, her inclusion on Democratic ticket was seen as ushering a new phase of women in mainstream politics. Besides, the 70s is hailed as women’s decade in public life following the increasing in focus on women’s political influence at the polls, as measured by the newly coined gender gap. After centuries of faltering behind, women began voting in same proportion as men in 1980, which meant that there were more female voters to court than at any point in history.
Moreover, women also achieved tremendous success in advocating for racial, gender, and sexual orientation rights. This initial initiative led to the formation of the National Organization for Women in 1966 with the mission of taking immediate action to integrate women into the American society mainstream, enjoying all associated rights and duties in true equal partnership with men. This saw issues and concerns related to equality and gender escalating with direct attacks on homosexuals (pg.322). As a result, the law enforcement officers raided Stone Hall gay club in 1969, which further unleashed the conflict on gender and sexuality owing to the reaction from heterosexual community. The raid incident at Stone Hall gay club served as the turning point for the liberation of gay community, as the gay activists opted to mobilize the gay society on their own. In 1976, a lesbian delegate O’ Leary named Jean was appointed to participate in the in a DNC and she brough a positive impact of the largely politicized gay issue in society (pg. 322).
In conclusion, By the late 1970s, activist groups had collapsed and women’s movement had divided — however the services they founded, such as rape-crisis institutions, shelters for women, and medical centers, had been integrated into the mainstream, owing to funding from cities, universities, and religious institutions (Friedan). Today, the feminist movement’s accomplishments — women’s rights in accessing education, increased involvement in national politics and the place of work, legal abortion and contraception, and legal protection of their rights — are foundational in the contemporary society.
“Closing of the second wave.” Chapter 24.