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When Women Revolted


When Women Revolted

Laura Tanenbaum , Mark Engler

Fifty years ago, feminist organizing in the United States entered a vibrant new phase of activity. While pinning down an exact starting date is a controversial endeavor, several major events in the late 1960s heralded the birth of what is often called second-wave feminism. The year 1966 saw the establishment of the National Organization of Women, or NOW, while 1967 featured both the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment into the Senate and groundbreaking pickets at the New York Times opposing sex-segregated job ads.


I marched then and will be marching on Saturday in my state capital.
I haven't read this yet, but looking forward to doing so!


Indeed. I was just emerging from a very traditionally gendered and sheltered girlhood, turning 15 in 1968, and my life was one of those vastly transformed by the 2 years that are the focus of this article. I'm not sure just when it happened, but a radicalizing experience for me was when the checkers at the grocery store where I had recently worked went on wildcat strike, demanding access to the "stock boy" jobs that paid significantly more per hour but were reserved to males. The union protected the status quo. Married women and single moms with years of seniority were making less per week than high-school boys. I stopped by, refusing to cross the picket line but encouraging my former sisters of the checkstand, and went home with tears in my eyes to try to make my Republican Daddy understand. It wasn't until after my Mother's death in 1998 that Dad told me that she had said she learned from my example and took steps to follow it.


These groups in the 60'-70's were also targeted by FBI investigations, as asserting the rights of females was seen as subversive.