Women’s Equality

Length: 2 Pages 535 Words

The rising demand for women’s equality began to take shape in the middle of the nineteenth century and continues as a transformative force today (Brown 1993). Early on, American feminists mobilized to abolish discrimination that legally subordinated women to men and basically made a mockery of the nation’s claim to be a community of equals (Brown 1993). Success came when the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, and over time the right to vote became a reality for all women, as poll taxes and other racial restrictions were eliminated, thus today women exercise the franchise on an equal footing with men (Brown 1993). In 1923, the Supreme Court struck down a Washington, D.C. minimum wage law that applied only to women (Brown 1993). Adkins v. Children’s Hosp Continue...

ital is known as one of the Court's liberty of contract decisions, which nullified various labor laws as infringements of the constitutional rights of employers and workers to negotiate the terms of employment freely (Brown 1993). Since the founding of American universities in the seventeenth century, educators and students have been divided concerning the roles of women in institutions of higher learning (Meirowitz 2005). While many American universities have been coeducational since their inception, the majority of colleges and universities only provided single-sex education until the middle of the twentieth century (Meirowitz 2005). After the civil rights and feminists movements in the 1960's, many single-sex colleges and universities began admitting both men and women, diversifying by gender as well by race, religion, and class (Meirowitz 2005). Between 1940 and 1960, wives' labor force participation either doubled or tripled, depending on the age group; and between 1960 and 1980 there was another leap in work rates, especially for younger wives, and these rates continued to increase during the 1980's (Oppenheimer 1994). Over the past 150 years, the long-term shift toward gender equality: activities and power shifted out of the household into modern economic, political, and educational institutions whose logic and structure gave men less interest in women's subordination (England 1999). The Nineteenth Amendment brought women into political citizenship after centuries of exclusion by men (Brown 1993). This decision marked a sharp reversal in the Court's approach to female-specific labor laws, and the court justified its move by endorsing an equality for women, thus women had stepped forward from an oppressive past to claim the vote and with it, a full measure of equality (Brown 1993). Although in the beginning, women came in small numbers, today their numbers equal or surpass their male classmates in graduation rates (Meirowitz 2005). Although married women's employment increased gradually throughout the first 40 years of the twentieth century, the major transformation in economic behavior came after 1940 (Oppenheimer 1994). Although some women were attending coeducational and women's colleges in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was really not until the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960's and 1970's that most men's colleges began to admit women (Meirowitz 2005). By 1990, approximately 70 percent of wives between ages 20 and 54 were in the labor force, compared to less than 20 percent in 1940, and only 5 percent in 1900 (Oppenheimer 1994).