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1960s Feminism Timeline

Key Events of United States Feminism During the 1960s

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1960
(May 9) The Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral contraceptive, commonly known as "the Pill," for sale as birth control in the United States.

1961
(November 1) Women Strike for Peace, founded by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson, drew 50,000 women nationwide to protest nuclear weapons and U.S. involvement in war in southeast Asia.

(December 14) President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the President's Commission on the Status of Women. He appointed former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to chair the commission.

1962
Sherri Finkbine traveled to Sweden for an abortion after learning that Thalidomide, a tranquilizer drug she had taken, caused extensive deformities to the fetus.

1963
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan was published.

(May 23) Anne Moody, who later wrote Coming of Age in Mississippi, participated in a Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in.

(June 10) The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy.

(June 16) Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in outer space, another Soviet first in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. "space race."

1964
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including the Title VII prohibition of discrimination based on sex.

1965
In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down a law restricting access to contraception for married couples.

The Newark Museum exhibit "Women Artists of America: 1707-1964" looked at women's art, often neglected in the art world.

(July 2) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began operations.

(December) Pauli Murray and Mary Eastwood published "Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII" in the George Washington Law Review.

1966
The National Organization for Women, known as NOW, was founded.

NOW set up task forces to work on key women's issues.

Marlo Thomas began starring in the television sitcom That Girl, about a young, independent, single career woman.

1967
President Johnson amended Executive Order 11246, which dealt with affirmative action, to include sex discrimination on the list of prohibited employment discrimination.

The feminist group New York Radical Women formed in New York City.

(August) The National Welfare Rights Organization formed in Washington D.C.

1968
NOW formed a special committee to launch a major campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Women's Equity Action League broke off from NOW to avoid the "controversial" issues of sexuality, reproductive choice and the Equal Rights Amendment.

(February 23) The EEOC ruled that being female was not a bona fide occupational qualification of being a flight attendant.

(September 7) The "Miss America Protest" by New York Radical Women at the Miss America pageant brought widespread media attention to women's liberation.

1969
The Abortion Counseling Service of Women's Liberation began operating in Chicago under the code name "Jane."

The radical feminist group Redstockings began in New York.

(March 21) Redstockings staged an abortion speakout, insisting that women's voices be heard on the issue instead of only male legislators and nuns.

(May) NOW activists marched in Washington D.C. for Mother's Day, demanding "Rights, Not Roses."

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