How Did State Commissions on the Status of Women
Overcome Historic Antagonisms between Equal Rights and
Labor Feminists to Create a New Feminist Mainstream, 1963-1973?

Abstract

         The Equal Rights Amendment divided organized feminism from the 1920s until the modern women's movement in the 1960s. This project explores how the deliberations of state commissions on the status of women in the 1960s provided a mechanism to overcome historic antagonisms between equal rights and labor feminists. The following documents show that even though the equal rights feminist National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was largely responsible for the formation of status of women commissions, these broad-based deliberative bodies composed of members selected, in most cases by governors, also included male and female labor feminists. Consequently, women and men from both sides of the ERA controversy participated on commissions charged to investigate the status of women and to formulate policies to improve their social, civil, and economic status. The deliberations of ongoing state commissions were eventually influenced by the strategies and goals of the modern women's movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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