What was the movement?During World War II several million women took factory production jobs to aid the war effort. But after the war ended, these women were urged to leave the work force to make room for the returning servicemen. Society encouraged women to become full-time housewives. Devotion to home and family and the rejection of a career emerged as the ideal image for women.
The religious doctrine, written laws, and social customs that colonists brought with them from Europe asserted women's subordinate position. Women were to marry, tend the house, and raise a family. Education beyond basic reading and writing was unusual. When a woman took a husband she lost what limited freedom she might have had as a single adult. Women's groups discovered discrimination in the workplace, where women received less pay and fewer promotions than men. They uncovered barriers to women seeking political office and to female students striving for high academic achievement.
This feminist movement rejected all limits to the equality of women's rights.
What did they want?The women demanded equal wages for work equal to that of men. In most cases women were only making two thirds that of a man's wage and that too for doing the same job. Women also pushed to have the same basis for promotion as that offered to men. Often men were chosen over women simply because they were male. Qualifications were no match for gender. Another thing women pushed for was paid maternity leave. The women's movement also fought for the elimination of sexual harassment and elimination of sexual exploitation of women through pornography and beauty contests.
One of the main fields of interest to these women was in gaining the right to contraception and birth control, which were almost universally restricted until the 1960s. The idea of...