It’s a good time to be a girl. And the United States is a good place for it. I was born in the 60′s and I just read an article that listed 5 things that women couldn’t do in the 60′s. It was pretty interesting to learn that I was born not one second too soon! As I grew up, girls started to see more and more opportunities open up. And by the time I had girls of my own, the world really was a place that they could call their own.
It turns out that in the 60s an unmarried woman couldn’t get a credit card and a married woman needed her husband to sign in order to get one. In 1974 it became illegal to discriminate based on gender when it comes to credit cards. These days college girls can easily (too easily?!) get a credit card to begin to establish (or wreck?!) their credit rating. Katie has had one for almost a year now. And I’ve been trying to talk Lexie into getting one to get some credit established, too. Both of my girls had debit cards well before they were out of high school. It is hard to imagine a world where just being female would make it impossible to do something as simple to get a credit card.
It wasn’t until the 70s that women were allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states. Now, jury duty isn’t exactly fun and I haven’t really felt all that privileged when I’ve been serving on the two juries I’ve sat on. But it’s pretty awful to think that people considered women unfit to sit on juries because they were too weak or stupid to listen to the facts of a crime. I don’t think women are either.
The birth control pill was FDA approved in 1957 but only for very limited use. It was approved for contraceptive use in 1960 but distribution was limited by pharmacies and it wasn’t widely available for several years after. Until it was widely available, women were not able to plan their own child-bearing and, therefore, their own lives and work.
Women couldn’t get an Ivy League education, for the most part, until 1969 and beyond. Far beyond at some Ivy League schools. It’s actually pretty surprising how long some schools held onto the all-male enrollment. This late-60′s baby would barely have been in only the third class to admit women had I had the kind of grades to apply to an Ivy League college (I sure didn’t!!).
And, finally, women in the 60s had no chance of workplace equality. They did, however, have a lot of people out there fighting for them. There were people trying to add women’s rights to the civil rights amendment. And there were those famous advocates for women. They fought for workplace equality. And they continue to do so.
And there were feisty little girls fighting to play sports in school and play Little League Baseball. I remember some of that going on as I grew up. I remember hearing people tell me I could be whatever I wanted to be as I grew up.
And now I have girls of my own. Young women, really. And they are pretty forceful young women. They don’t like to be bossed around. They make up their own minds. They know their own minds.