1972 Title IX

Title IX (Title Nine) is part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and reads as follows: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance." When the act was first put into place schools and other programs took about three years to come up with specific regulations to make sure that Title IX was not violated. Even with Title IX in effect, there were race and class disparities that needed to be resolved. People had different experiences and different access to resources, and equaling access does not automatically erase any stigma or negative mindsets regarding women. Since Title IX was fairly new, places were still majority male dominated. Females can feel isolated and unmotivated if they see themselves as the only female in the room, which hindered progress in terms of diversification. Over time, the amount of women and girls participating in STEM courses and athletics increased. For instance, in 1994, women received 38% of medical degrees, compared with 9% in 1972; 43% of law degrees, compared with 7% in 1972; and 44% of all doctoral degrees, compared to 25 percent in 1977." In 1996, "girls constituted 39% of high school athletes, compared to 7.5% in 1971." However, the playing field is still not completely equal, and this fight continues even in the 21st century with pay inequity and protection for those who fall outside of the gender binary.

Ms. Magazine Founding

When the first regular issue of Ms. was released in July of 1972, the 300,000 test copies sold out in eight days, defying the expectations of editors. The magazine was established by Gloria Steinem (1934-present), the co-founder of the Women's Action Alliance (1971-1997), and a prominent advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (1972). Ms. was first published in 1971 as a sample insert in New York Magazine. The following year, the inaugural issue of Ms. was released, becoming the first national publication to center feminist voices. Ms. tackled issues that were rarely seen in the popular press. Before its release, magazines such as McCall's featured beauty tips and advice for finding a husband. In contrast, Ms.'s first issue included an article on welfare and a statement from fifty famous women titled "We Have Had Abortions." By combining the styles of feminist periodicals and women's magazines, Ms. appealed to both radical and apolitical women. Despite its radical identity, it was difficult for Ms. to be critical of the women's liberation movement, for fear of hurting the cause. The magazine translated the women's movement into a publication and created a space in the world of journalism for women's issues.

1966 Founding of N.O.W.

As women across the country began to reject their domestic fate and make their voices heard, President Kennedy ordered a Commission on the Status of Women. Although this commission was one of the first of its time, its effectiveness was questioned at the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women. It was here that author and activist Betty Friedan and Yale Law Professor Dr. Pauli Murray grew frustrated with the lack of progress in the committee. They soon called for a legal mandate to end sex discrimination in employment and the passage of Title VII, a federal law that would protect employees from discrimination based on their background. After these requests were denied. Betty Friedan and Dr. Pauli Murray instead created their own organization. With the stroke of a pen on a napkin at a hotel room in Washington, D.C, Betty Friedan wrote the acronym "N.O.W" and formed the National Organization for Women. The initial goals of N.O.W were to help organize and support the actions of activists all over the country. One such instance was in 1971 when N.OW. helped organize protests against the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's inability to address complaints from women about sex discrimination in universities. This effort would eventually culminate into Title IX, a law that prevents discrimination based on sex in education. N.O.W has also advised the federal government on issues such as abortion laws and workplace discrimination. Today N.O.W has over 600 local chapters and 500,000 members, as it aims to create "...a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders."

Equal Rights Amendment

Written after the passing of the 19th Amendment and introduced in Congress in 1923, The Equal Rights Amendment was legislation that "strove for men and women to be equal under the Constitution". It was passed in Congress in 1972 thanks to the efforts of Representative Shirley Chisholm(D-NY) and Representative Martha Griffiths(D-MO). The amendment would then need the ratification of 38 states by the deadline Congress established. Many had come forward to support this amendment, including the National Organization of Women(NOW), the League of Women Voters, multiple magazines, former Presidents, and more. The amendment was expected to pass swiftly amid heightened interest due to the Second-wave feminism movement. However, the amendment faced opposition from Phyllis Schlafly and White Evangelical Women. They claimed that the amendment would deprive women of their rights to be mothers, strip the female privilege of not being drafted into the military, and was a part of the government's attempt to degrade the traditional roles of women since the decision of Roe v.s. Wade was passed in 1973. As the deadline approached, the number of states to ratify fell short. The deadline was extended a few more times but by June 30, 1982 ,the final deadline, it was three states short of being able to be ratified.

After the Equal Rights Amendment failed, the Amendment has been reintroduced before every session of Congress to be reconsidered. Despite how it failed forty years ago, the recent prominence of the #MeToo Movement has propelled three more states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Virginia was the latest to ratify in January 2020, sparking conversation on if the Equal Rights Amendment can now be reconsidered to be passed as a constitutional amendment even though the deadline has long passed and some states have rescinded their support.

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