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Feminist Chronicles - 1968

Events

"Women's Liberation" groups began to emerge around the country as a spin-off of the male-dominated student movement. (1968)

The United Nations inaugurated the International Year of Human Rights. (01/01/68)

Three Black students were shot to death and 30 wounded by police on the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. (02/68)

Walter Cronkite, breaking a code of neutrality among major newscasters, opposed the Vietnam War in a national television broadcast. (03/06/68)

Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, TN. (04/05/68)

It took 1000 police officers to end the week-long student takeover of Columbia University. (04/30/68)

Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.(06/05/68)

At the Democratic Convention in Chicago police and students rioted; Hubert Humphrey was chosen as the Democratic nominee for President. (08/26-29) Republicans held their convention in Florida and chose Richard Nixon. (08/5-9/68)

More than 110 women from 37 states and Canada convened in Chicago for the first national Women's Liberation Conference. (11/28-30/68)

The Women's Equity Action League (WEAL) was formed as a spin-off from NOW by women who did not want to deal with the issue of abortion but did want to actively work for equal opportunity for women in education and employment. (12/01/68)


Lifestyles

At the opening of Congress, a coalition of women's peace groups (5000 women) called the Jeanette Rankin Brigade, demonstrated against the Vietnam war. The New York Radical Women staged a "Burial of Traditional Womanhood" in a first action by radical women to raise the consciousness of their anti-war activist sisters. This was the first use of phrase "Sisterhood is Powerful." (01/15/68)

New York NOW demonstrated for abortion law repeal. Among the chapter demonstrators was Kate Millet carrying a sign that read, "Nobody should legislate my rights to my body." (02/29/68)

NOW chapters around the country demonstrated at facili-ties that denied admittance or service to women as a public accommodations issue. (1968)

A New York Times story disclosed the fact that Ti- Grace Atkinson, a member of NOW's National Board, had involved herself in the Valerie Solanis case. Solanis shot Andy Warhol and was the author of the "S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto" A newspaper photo identified Atkinson as representing NOW at the Solanis trial. Solanis' attorney was Flo Kennedy, another member of New York NOW and a nominee for the NOW National Board. Some national officers and board members and members of New York NOW objected to the unauthorized association of NOW's name in defense of a woman who advocated and used violence. In the furor within NOW that followed, Atkinson maintained neither she nor Kennedy had represented themselves as connected with NOW. (06/14/68)

Women's Liberation groups, joined by members of New York NOW, targeted the Miss America Beauty Contest in Atlantic City. This was the event from which the myth of "bra-burning" feminists was created by the press, distorting the early image of the movement. In fact, there was an ordinance against burning anything on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which the demonstrators observed. (09/07/68)


Economic

EEOC hearings in New York City were picketed by New York NOW when NOW was refused permission to testify or take part in final round table discussion concerning "Discrimination in White Collar Employment" that included representatives from the finance, insurance, communications, banking industries and 100 major corporations with headquarters in New York City. (01/15/68)

The EEOC finally ruled that sex was not a BFOQ for the job of airline flight attendant. (02/03/68)

Twelve Trans World Airlines flight attendants filed a complaint with the EEOC against the airline for sex discrimination. The complaint alleged that TWA maintained two classifications for flight cabin attendants: purser and hostess. Both had the same duties but men as pursers made from $2500 to $3500 more a year. (04/68)

Members of New York NOW again picketed the New York Times, this time for a week, urging the end of sex-segregated job advertising. They chanted: "The New York Times is a sex-offender!" (07/22-26/68)

The EEOC ruled 3-2 that it violated the Civil Rights Act for employers to place separate male and female "Help Wanted" ads in newspapers, except where sex was a bona fide occupational qualification. (08/05/68)

NOW called its first boycott of Colgate-Palmolive products and demonstrated for five days in front of the company's New York City headquarters on Park Avenue. Anselma Dell'Olio and Barbara Love of New York NOW led the action with picket signs that read "Down the Drain With Ajax," "The White Knight Is A Dirty Old Man" and "Cold Power Versus Woman Power." One of the days featured a "flush in," where New York NOW members poured Colgate products into a real toilet. (09/05/68)

Four New York City newspapers- the New York Times, Post, Daily News and Village Voice- integrated their Help Wanted advertisements. (12/01/68)

NOW protested the exclusion of women as astronauts from the space program. Nita Ladewig, president of the Northern California Chapter of NOW, initiated correspondence with NASA that continued for six months, also protesting the exclusive use of the names of masculine gods for the space ships. NASA maintained it had yet to find women who qualified either as pilots or scientists. (12/27-68-05/26/69)


Religion

The Church and The Second Sex by Mary Daly was published. (1968)


Media

Caroline Bird's Born Female, The High Cost of Keeping Women Down was a feminist best-seller. (1968)

The first independent radical women's newsletter: "Voice of the Women's Liberation Movement," was written and published in Chicago. By 1971, there were over 100 women's movement journals, newsletters and newspapers throughout the country. (03/68)

The New York Times Magazine ran the article "The Second Feminist Wave," by Martha Weinman Lear. (03/18/68)

Notes From the First Year, a collection of writings and reports on radical feminism, was published. Also published was a position paper, "Toward a Female Liberation Movement" (called the Florida Paper) by Beverly Jones and Judith Brown. (06/68)

Dr. Naomi Weisstein delivered her paper " 'Kinder, Kuche, Kirche' As Scientific Law: Psychology Constructs the Female" at the American Studies Association meeting at UC Davis (CA). The paper was widely distributed in the women's movement. (10/26/68)


Legal

NOW attorney, Sylvia Roberts took the case of Weeks v. Southern Bell on appeal. Weeks had been denied a promotion because of a state law that prohibited women from lifting 30 pounds or more on the job. (02/14/68)

In U.S. ex. rel. v. Robinson, the Federal District Court struck dawn the Connecticut statute requiring longer prison sentences for women than for men as unconstitutional. (02/28/68)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, acting on an appeal filed by NOW attorneys Marguerite Rawalt and Phineas Indritz, voided the state's Muncy Law, which required longer prison sentences for women than for men convicted of the same crime. In Pennsylvania v. Daniel, NOW's attorneys argued it was discriminatory to sentence women up to 10 years for the same crime for which men could only receive a four-year sentence. (07/01/68)

In Rosenfeld v. Southern Pacific Company, the federal district court ruled that Title VII super-seded California protective labor laws that restricted women from working overtime and from lifting weights in excess of the prescribed limit. The case was considered a landmark advance for women's rights. Southern Pacific appealed the decision. (11/22/68)


Political

The federal Citizen's Advisory Council issued four task force reports on Health and Welfare, Social Security and Taxes, Labor Standards and Family Law Policy; the Family Law Policy report recommended repeal of abortion laws. (04/68)

NOW President Betty Friedan appointed a special committee consisting of Jean Witter, Ti-Grace Atkinson and Muriel Fox to plan a major campaign for enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 91st Congress. Mary Eastwood and Caruthers Berger wrote the rationale for its adoption.

NOW member Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to the House of Representatives. After the 1968 elections, 10 women were serving in the House and one in the Senate; the 1968 Census indicated that women were 53.3% of the population of the United States. (11/04/68)

At its Third National Conference, NOW committed to launch a campaign to outlaw public accommodations discrimination based on sex, initiate a nationwide boycott against United Airlines because of its "men only" executive flights, and work for the amendment of the Social Security Act to provide insurance coverage for the wife as an individual rather than as a dependent of her husband. (12/06-08/68)


The Backlash

Though most Catholics had expected approval of the pill, the Pope's encyclical Humanae Vitae, again forbade the use of artificial methods of birth control and voluntary sterilization. The encyclical was not proclaimed an infallible document. (07/29/68)

The American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) and the Washington Star filed suit in federal court challenging the authority of the EEOC to issue its regulation eliminating sex-segregated classified job advertising and charging compliance with the regulation would hurt job seekers, employers and newspapers. (09/30/68)

Richard Viguerie set up his fundraising firm, RAVCO, using lists he acquired from the Goldwater campaign. (1968)

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