Did you know? As late as the mid 1800s....
The question of whether women were citizens of the United States is subject to discussion, since their rights clearly were not the same as men and they did not have the right to vote until 1920.
-Anneliese Orleck, Professor of History, Dartmouth College
In the 1970s, which is not even 50 years ago:
- Women still were not paid the same for men doing the exact same job. Why? The excuse was, men were usually the primary breadwinner in the family and thus merited more pay.
- Women were expected to wear dresses to work. Once there was a slight relaxation of this common expectation, pants could be worn, but only in the form of a pants suit with a particular type of blouse. The clothing of a woman was much more important than that of a man.
- Even women in more professional careers were expected to make coffee for meetings simply because they were women.
- If a woman got married, she was expected to quit her job to stay home and run her household.
- If a woman stayed working after marriage, she was certainly expected to quit her job once she became pregnant. It was assumed she would be staying home with her child.
- Women who returned to work after having a baby, having someone else care for the child, were looked down upon.
- If a woman's husband was offered a job in another city, it was assumed she would then be leaving with him: There was no discussion about what she wanted or whether it was good for her career.
- Women in traditionally male careers were not to be trusted, such as a woman doctor, attorney, engineer. There was thoughts of: Why get a degree when you're just going to get married and stay home anyway? In fact, even completing a high school diploma was considered a waste for girls until the 1950s or so.
- In some jobs, the employer could (and did) give a pregnant woman different duties so that she wouldn't be seen by the public once she started to 'show.'
- Also in terms of pregnancy, young women who became pregnant outside of marriage were often sent away to have their babies and give them up; friends were told the girl had gone on a trip or to live with someone several states away for a while, and in some cases their parents disowned them altogether, 'kicked them out.' There was no punishment for the father of the baby.
- Girls wore dresses to school, not pants and certainly not jeans.
- Protests were common, with women demanding equal pay and respect. But women who participated were thought of as radical.
- Women who voiced their opinions, whether at home, at work, or in public, were 'troublemakers.'