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A Class by HerselfProtective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s$
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Nancy Woloch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691002590

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691002590.001.0001

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Trading Places: The 1960s and 1970s

Trading Places: The 1960s and 1970s

(p.191) 7 Trading Places: The 1960s and 1970s
A Class by Herself

Nancy Woloch

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the rise of feminism in the 1960s and the downfall of single-sex protective laws. Protection's downfall rested not on the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), but rather on the courts—on women employees who sued for equal rights in federal courts under Title VII and the lawyers who represented them; on pressure from feminist organizations, notably the National Organization for Women (NOW), that supported the plaintiffs; on a series of court decisions that upset protective laws; and on a mounting consensus among judges in favor of equal rights. Also important was feminist resurgence, which swayed conviction; shifts in public opinion culminated in the passage in Congress of an ERA in 1972. Single-sex protective laws were thus the first casualties of the new feminism. Once central to the women's movement, they became obstacles on the path to equal rights.

Keywords:   feminism, single-sex protective laws, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, women employees, equal rights, Title VII, National Organization for Women, feminist organizations

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