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The 1970sA New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality$
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Thomas Borstelmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141565

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141565.001.0001

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The Rising Tide of Equality and Democratic Reform

The Rising Tide of Equality and Democratic Reform

(p.73) Chapter 2 The Rising Tide of Equality and Democratic Reform
The 1970s

Thomas Borstelmann

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes the beginnings of the equal rights movement in the 1970s. During this decade, gender—the social and cultural roles associated with a particular sex—became a crucial and widely used term, as millions of women and men began to reconsider all sorts of previously unexamined assumptions about femaleness and maleness. The implications of this kind of rethinking were enormous. The segregation by sex that had pervaded American society no longer looked so natural. Moreover, the weakening of traditional gender hierarchies marked the largest shift of the decade toward formal equality, since it encompassed slightly more than half of American citizens. But other old hierarchies also began to crumble in the 1970s as the reforming spirit of egalitarianism, spilling out from the black freedom struggle of the previous decade, seeped into almost all corners of American life.

Keywords:   gender, civil rights, gender segregation, gender hierarchies, African Americans, racism, homosexuality

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