Women have been trying to improve their status for many years. It started with the vote but that didn't really change their social position in society. They were still looked at as second class citizens. It wasn't until the 1960's that a second wave of feminism started to grow. Instead of focusing on voting rights, educational freedom, and political and legal rights, they turned their attention to social and economic issues such as sexuality, family life and employment. However, not all countries experienced this second wave just the ones that were wealthy and stable.
North America set the stage with its leaps and bounds in technology and prosperity. Europe and Asia where more concerned about recovering from depression and from war. When you are not starving to death and are financially stable you can concentrate on the smaller things. The technological advances in America such as the refrigerator, washing machine, and the microwave oven gave women more time to pursue education and work outside of the home.
By 1970, 40 percent of married women were working outside of the home in America. The civil rights movement tremendously helped the feminist movement with advent of the Civil Rights Act, which banned discrimination based on race and sex. But at its height only 2% of women were part of the feminist movement; mostly from white middle class.
What the feminist movement did in the sixties was to start the ball rolling. In 1962 two-thirds of women did not feel the victim of discrimination; by 1974 two-thirds said they did. The Equal rights amendment, the invention of the pill and Roe vs. Wade where humungous victories for the feminist movement. Countries in Western Europe such as France soon followed suit; mainly because of male chauvinism. In Western Europe the pill became a symbol...