EQUALITY. As presented in Ms. Magazine's blog, here are 10 things that American women could not do before the 1970s ~
1. Keep her job if she was pregnant. Until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 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 of 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 from other forms of rape in some states.
6. Compete as a boxer in the Olympics. It wasn't until the 2012 London Olympics that women could compete in boxing. This was marked by 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 refuted 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.
(It happens that I bought the very first newsstand issue of Ms., and became a subscriber. Later I minored in Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, until switching my major and minor. We've come a long way since the second wave of the feminist movement. But we still have a long way to go to reach full gender equality. Disparate wages for the same work, hiring discrimination, and sexist attitudes persist ~ not to mention sex trafficking, violence against women, and other social ills. Is the next generation ready and able to receive the torch? I believe it is.)
SEX. Stereotypes regarding gender and sex have been around forever, it seems, and some stereotypes are persistent. A recent study confirmed what previous studies had found ~ that when asked about the number of sex partners they've had, women and men both exaggerate, but in opposite directions. Women tend to under-report the number of prior partners, while men tend to over-report. When hooked up to a lie detector, however, both genders revealed true numbers which approximate each other. Why would they lie? Apparently women don't want to be perceived as being promiscuous, while men want to be perceived as being experienced. Perhaps one day everyone will realize that one's own reality is more legitimate than someone else's perception.
BREASTS. Kara Maria Ananda, a women's health writer, sings the praises of one of my favorite parts of female anatomy (who am I kidding ~ all parts of the female landscape are my favorites) in Viva La Boobies! 7 Things To Know About Breasts. As a teaser, here are the headers for the positive information she shares ~
- Breasts want freedom.
- Breasts need massage.
- Breasts are hot.
- Breastmilk has a gazillion medicinal uses.
- Breasts are energy centers.
- Breasts are a lot like canaries.
- Breasts are beautiful.
Yes, they are ~ as are the bold, smart, resourceful, sexy, resilient, and creative women to whom they belong.