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Feminist Chronicles - 1963

Lifestyles

Eight-year-old Nancy Lotsey joined the New Jersey Small-Fry League-the first girl to participate in organized all-boy baseball games. Her superior pitching and batting skills enabled her team to win the League Title. (1963)

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan became a best-seller. Debunking the myths that women, particularly housewives, were totally fulfilled by marriage and motherhood, Friedan said it was time for women "to stop giving lip service to the idea that there are no battles left to be fought for women in America." (1963)

Illegitimate births among American teenagers were up 150% since 1940. (1963)


Religion

The Time Has Come: A Catholic Doctor's Proposals to End the Battle Over Birth Control by Dr. John Rock, a Catholic who did breakthrough research on the contraceptive pill, was published. It was perceived as a head-on challenge to the Roman Catholic Church's prohibition against artificial birth control. (1963)


Economic

A Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower reported that women accounted for 60% of the growth of the labor force in the 1950s. (1963)

Irene Otillia Galloway, director of the Women's Army Corps (1953-57), died at the age of 55. She was European Command staff director for four years (1948-52) and was named commandant of the WAC Training Center in 1952. (01/06/63)

After 20 years, the Equal Pay Act was passed by the U. S. Congress, amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide equal pay for equal work without discrimination on the basis of sex. Bills to achieve this goal were first introduced in Congress in 1943. (05/28/63)


Media

Two remarkable actresses won Academy Awards this year for playing two remarkable women in The Miracle Worker. The best actress Oscar went to Anne Bancroft for her brilliant portrayal of Helen Keller's teacher and mentor, Annie Sullivan, who taught Keller, a wild six-year old deaf mute, to communicate with the world via sign language and, finally, speech. Child actress Patty Duke won a supporting player Oscar in the role of Helen Keller. (03/63)

Barbara Tuchman won a "best non-fiction" Pulitzer Prize for her 1962 best-seller, The Guns of August, about World War I. In 1937, she covered the Civil War in Spain for Nation magazine. Another Pulitzer Prize, for best book on U.S. history, went to Constance McLaughlin Green for Washington, Village and Capital, 1800-1878. (05/06/63)

Alicia Patterson, publisher, founder and editor of Newsday in New York for 23 years, died at the age of 57. (07/02/63)

Sociologist Alice Rossi presented a paper at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences conference entitled, "Equality Between the Sexes: An Immodest Proposal." (10/63)

The report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, entitled American Women, was published, documenting pervasive sex discrimination and the absence of support systems for women's changing lives. Among many recommendations, it called for a clarification of the legal status of women under the Constitution by the U. S. Supreme Court. (10/11/63)


Political

Maria Goeppert-Mayer was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize for physics (for her work on the shell structure of atomic nuclei) and the second woman of any nationality to receive the award. Marie Curie was the first in 1903. (12/10/63)


Legal

Federal Judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes (1896-1985), the first (and so far, the last) woman to swear in a U.S. President (Lyndon Johnson), worked her way through law school by working as a Washington, D.C. policewoman. In the 1930s, the avowed feminist served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and successfully sponsored a bill whereby women were finally allowed to serve as Texas jury members. (1963)


The Backlash

In the proceedings of the University of California Medical Center's conference on "The Potential of Women," Edmund W. Overstreet, a gynecologist, commented jokingly, on women's capacity to live longer than men: "When you come right down to it, perhaps women just live too long! Maybe when they get through having babies they have outlived their usefulness." (1963)

In The Feminine Mystique (pgs. 151-52), Betty Friedan quoted Lynn White, the male president of California's women-only Mills College, who considered women non-creative and thought they should primarily be educated to become wives and mothers. "Why not," asked White, "study the theory and preparation of a Basque paella . . . an authoritative curry. . . even such simple sophistications as serving cold artichokes with fresh milk?" (1963)

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