Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
About the Second Wave
Second Wave Feminism From Feminist Philosophies A-Z
The feminist movement, sometimes called the ‘Women’s Movement’, that began in the late 1960s. In the US it was influenced by the strategies and tactics of the Civil Rights movement and in the UK by the labour rights movement.
Issues of the Second Wave
Birth Control: Topic
In the late 1960s the women’s movement gave rise to a reproductive rights movement whose goals encompassed legalizing abortion, promoting easier and safer contraception, and fighting racist and classist birth-control programs. The vibrancy and successes of that reproductive rights movement, as well as its broad attack on traditional gender roles, stimulated the backlash politics of the New Right.
Equal Rights Amendment: Topic
The National Organization of Women made ratification of the ERA central to its mission, and, together with other interests, it undertook a major effort during the 1960s and early 1970s, culminating in the passage of the ERA by Congress in 1972. However, , it failed to be ratified by sufficient states by the stipulated deadline of July 1982.
Sexual Discrimination: Topic
Sexual discrimination involves treating someone differently, usually less favourably, because of his or her gender.
Sexual Harassment: Topic
In law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes.
Achievements of the Second Wave
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (United States)
From From Suffrage to the Senate: America's Political Women
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes it illegal for private employers to have different rates of pay for women and men doing the same work. It was the first federal law to address sex discrimination.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (United States)
From Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics
As women entered the workforce in greater numbers throughout the 1960s and 1970s, many found that despite their earnings they were being denied credit in their own name. In many cases they needed a male cosigner before they could get loans or credit cards. In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) became law; it banned discrimination in access to credit on the basis of sex or marital status and was later amended to include race, religion, national origin, and age.
Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX
From From Suffrage to the Senate: America's Political Women
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits institutions receiving federal funds from practicing gender discrimination in educational programs or activities. It was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees in these institutions.
Roe v. Wade: Topic
Case decided in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The decision, written by Justice Harry Blackmun and based on the residual right of privacy, struck down dozens of state antiabortion statutes.
Corning Glass Works v. Brennan
From From Suffrage to Senate: America's Political Women
In Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, the first equal pay case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court found that Corning Glass Works’ pay policies violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by paying a higher base wage to male night shift inspectors than it paid to female inspectors performing the same tasks on the day shift.
Leaders and Activists of the Second Wave
Hillary Clinton,(1947- ): Topic
US lawyer, Democrat senator 2001–09, first lady 1993–2001, and US secretary of state 2009–13.
Angela Davis (1944- ): Topic
Prison abolitionist, political prisoner, Black Panther, Communist, radical activist, Black feminist, critical resistor, public intellectual, intellectual activist, and university professor are just some of the labels by which Angela Davis has been known throughout her lifetime.
Betty Friedan (1921-2006): Topic
Writer and feminist leader; As a result of surveys of female college graduates, she came to identify certain problems that women were experiencing in their lives.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020): Topic
As a student, law professor, advocate, and judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) struggled against the legal profession's prevailing institutional discrimination against women.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940): Topic
“Red Emma,” the archetypal anarchist rebel best known for her defense of individual freedom and the rights of workers, became one of the most reviled women of her time. Much was made of Goldman’s perceived “infamy” as a female political firebrand and her many colorful affairs as an advocate of free love.
bell hooks (1952-2021): Topic
hooks' first book-length work of cultural criticism, "Ain't I a Woman," challenged assumptions about the experience of black women in terms of race and gender. Criticizing the definition of womanhood presented by feminists such as Kate Millet and Susan Brownmiller, hooks argued that white women are guilty of unconscious racist assumptions.
Audre Lorde (1934-1992): Topic
Lorde was, in many ways, a survivor who worked to end the many silences in black women's history. As a mother, lesbian, feminist, African American, and a cancer survivor, Lorde reflects the multiplicity of black women's existence.
Toni Morrison (1931 - 2019): Topic
Toni Morrison is one of the most lauded and recognized writers in the English language. An accomplished novelist, essayist, playwright, and librettist, Morrison’s work is distinguished by her stunningly beautiful use of language and her chronicling of the African American experience through folklore, gender issues, and the human condition.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966): Topic
Birth control advocate; She moved to New York City (1912) where she became active in the women’s labour movement and the Socialist Party. She concluded that control over childbearing was the key to female emancipation, and was appalled by women’s ignorance of contraception, which she experienced first-hand working as a practical nurse in New York City (1912).
Gloria Steinem (1934- ): Topic
Gloria Steinem was famous for her wit and incisive commentaries on women’s rights, her invention of the neutral term Ms. for single women, and her critiques of the family and gender roles.