Women in the 1970s were in the age of Big Hair (caps necessary), jumpsuits, and disco. What a time to become active for gender equality. “I am woman; hear me roar,” was the lyric of one of Helen Reddy popular songs from 1972.
Another slogan of the age from activist Gloria Steinem was, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
The theme of the 70s women activists was to make the workplace a more equal place; women were knocking down barriers on what qualified as “women’s work.” They could be more than the allotted nurse, teacher, and/or secretary, please circle of the above. Also, an attack on education was made. In this decade, according to the article Classic 70s, the number of women in colleges went up 60% since the 1960s. There were more women in universities than there were of “intellectually superior” men. Tsk, tsk male sex. But who can forget our own sex’s triumph with the implement of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act: no person, based on their sex, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Billy Jean King took that to the top and smacked her way into the Battle of the Sexes; there, on the green tops of the tennis courts, she faced off against nationally acclaimed tennis pro Bobby Riggs and guess who was the glorious victor? Miss King, and on national television to boot. What else can I say? Women were finally allowed to go to military academies. They didn’t see any combat in this decade but, the U.S. Military disbanded the Women’s Army Corps in ’78, fully accepting females in to the Army. Guess they didn’t know how to use a gun before. And, the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème (excusez mon français, I’m practicing), was the Women’s Strike for Equality, held on the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the 19th Amendment, the one where white men got their head out of the butts and realized that, huh, women might have an opinion on politics too. (More likely the Democrats wanted to gain another sector of the Democratic Coalition, but the other point is valid too.) In 1970, 50,000 New York women marched in the streets alongside 100,000 others across the country in protest to have equal rights in respect, job application, and pay as men did in the workforce.
Written by E. L. Carter
“Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972.” Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
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