Home > 70s Culture > Women in the 70s

Women in the 70s

Women in the 70s experienced quite the ride, from the burning of bras and women’s liberation to the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (in 1982).

In between, women in the 70s began to experience true freedoms as equals, thanks to the efforts of such visionary women’s rights leaders as Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Robin Morgan and Betty Friedan.

The decade began with the Womens Strike for Equality, which marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which legalized a womans right to vote.

Women in the 70s mobilized on all fronts. 70s women fought for equal rights in business and in education. Between 1970 and 1979, the number of women in colleges increased by 60%.

For the first time in America’s history, more women were going to college than men. While the wage gap failed to close as much as hoped, it still did become smaller.

Women also broke through the glass ceiling in business for the first time in large numbers, taking key management roles in businesses large and small.

On the sports front, women in the 70s celebrated the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex by public schools.

High school sports would never be the same, though co-ed sports were still a rarity. Neither would Little League, which opened baseball to girls in 1974.

In sports, Billie Jean King took her case for equality to court - the tennis court, that is. In the Battle of the Sexes, she bested a mouthy Bobby Riggs on national television.

Women in the 70s were making great strides. They even got their own magazine of liberation – Gloria Steinem’s Ms. magazine launched in 1973, complete with male centerfolds.

Equality spread to military service for 70s women as well. Women were finally admitted into U.S. military academies, though assignments in combat would have to wait. The U.S. Army did, however, finally eliminate the Women’s Army Corps in 1978 and brought women into the U.S. Army.

Few would argue that women in the 70s experienced a lot of changes. Going from the kitchens of America to the boardrooms, 70s women started on a historic journey and have never looked back.