Remembering The Sixties
I became involved with the Women’s Liberation Movement in the early 1960s, although as early as 1955 I had supported organizations such as the Women Against War and other social justice movements. The issue of women’s equality seemed simply obvious to me. Why would anyone question such a statement? But I found that it would take years of hard work to make other people see what to me was indisputable.
An abbreviated women’s liberation movement timeline: 1960-1968
1960 – First birth control pill approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration
1961 – President’s Commission on the Status of Women is formed by John F. Kennedy with Eleanor Roosevelt as chair.
Fifty thousand women in sixty cities, mobilized by Women Strike for Peace, protest above ground testing of nuclear bombs and tainted milk.
Dolores Huerta joins Cesar Chavez as a leader of the National Farm Worker’s Association (later UFW). Jessie Lopez de la Cruz is the first union woman who organizes in the field.
1962 – Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, which exposes the dangers of pesticide use ” helps launch the modern environmental movement. She is subjected to sexist attacks for her work.
1963 – Betty Freidan publishes the Feminine MystiqueCongress passes the Equal Pay Act.Some 200,000 people rally in Washington, D.C. and hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.
Terrorist bomb planted by segregationists kills four girls attending Sunday school in Birmingham, Alabama.
1964 – Civil Rights Act
The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley launches a sit-in and strike to protest restrictions on student political activity.
1965 – The “Woman Question” is raised for the first time at a Students for Democratic Society (SDS) conference.
First national anti-war protest held in Washington D.C.
In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court strikes down the one remaining state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives
The YWCA of Chicago’s child care program begins with a Head Start program at Chicago’s Coretta Scott King Center.
1966 – Formation of the National Organization for Women (NOW)
1967 – Women’s Liberation groups begin springing up across the country.
Eugene McCarthy introduces the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the US Senate
NY Radical Women formed by Shulie Firestone, Pam Allen and Anne Koedt organizes consciousness raising groups.
Women’s Radical Action Project (WRAP) organizes at the University of Chicago.
1968 – Feminists protest the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic
For the first time, feminists use the slogan “Sisterhood is Powerful.”
First national women’s liberation conference held in Lake Villa, IL.
First issue of the Voice of Women’s Liberation appears with Jo Freeman as the editor.
April 4, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated.
June 5, 1968: Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles.
August 1968: Police attack anti-war protestors at the Democratic National Convention.
For more on the history of the women’s liberation movement go to:
CWLU Herstory Project – A Women’s Liberation Timeline 1960 – 1977
Or A Timeline of The Feminist Movement on Viva.media