Part II – 1990

1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 |1957 | 1958 | 1959
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966
1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 19701971 | 1972 | 1973
1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | Epilogue, 1993


The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Mayumi Moriyama, withdrew her request to present a trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling contest after she was besieged by protests. No woman had ever been permitted to enter the sacred center ring of sumo. (01/90)

After his re-election as Japanese Prime Minister, Toshiki Kaifu, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, dropped the only two women members from his Cabinet. (02/90)

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals in a 7-1 ruling declared that a pregnant woman, even one who was terminally ill and whose fetus was probably viable, could not be forced to undergo a Caesarean delivery in an effort to save the fetus. In 1987 a judge ordered a a Caesarean section to be performed on Angela Carder, who was dying of cancer and was in her 26th week of pregnancy. Both the woman and the fetus died. (04/26/90)

President Bush signed legislation requiring the Federal government to collect hate crime statistics based on race, ethnic background, religion and sexual orientation. Excluded from this bill were crimes motivated by gender. (04/90)

President Bush vetoed the “Family and Medical Leave Act,” a bill guaranteeing unpaid leave to workers who are seriously ill or who must care for sick relatives or newborn children. (06/90)

Charles Keating, who owned Lincoln Savings and Loan, was indicted in the savings and loan financial crisis for criminal fraud. (09/18/90)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued Neil Bush, the President’s son, and other officials of the defunct Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association for “gross negligence” that the FDIC said would cost taxpayers more then $1 billion. (09/22/90)

In Hodgson v. Minnesota, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that states may require that pregnant teenage girls either notify both biological parents before having an abortion or seek a judicial authorization through “judicial bypass.” In Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the Court upheld by a 6-3 vote the state’s law requiring notification of one parent while also allowing the judicial bypass. (06/25/90)

David Duke, a former grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan, campaigning for “equal rights for whites,” made a strong but ultimately unsuccessful effort in Louisiana to win election to the U.S. Senate. However, he received 44% of the vote. (10/06/90)

After 45 years, West and East Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany. (10/02-03/90)

The highest ranking woman in the Bush Administration, Elizabeth Dole, resigned as Secretary of Labor. She planned to accept the presidency of the American Red Cross. (10/24/90)

David H. Souter, only recently appointed to the Federal appeals court, was nominated by President Bush to replace retiring Justice William J. Brennan Jr. on the U.S. Supreme Court. (07/23/90) After NOW President Molly Yard and Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal gave eloquent testimony against his confirmation, (09/17/90), they were subjected to a patronizing tongue-lashing by Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) because Molly Yard shrugged after Sen. Strom Thurmond commented on the presence of “lovely ladies” but had no questions for them. On the Judiciary Committee, only Senator Kennedy voted against Souter’s confirmation. (09/27/90) The full Senate voted to confirm Souter 90-9. (10/02/90)

Gro Harlem Brundtland took power for the third time as Prime Minister of Norway, vowing to revive stalled talks on ties with the European Community, the issue that toppled the previous center-right government. Brundtland unveiled a 19-member Cabinet that included nine women. “Jobs, the environment and children,” she said, would be the top domestic priorities. (11/03/90)

Junk bond king Michael Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison for financial crimes committed to achieve more power and wealth for himself and his wealthy clients by Judge Kimba M. Wood. (11/21/90)

Mary Robinson, a 46-year-old lawyer, was sworn in as Ireland’s first woman president. She was elected to the position in November with 52.8% of the vote. (12/90)


Anna Arnold Hedgeman, 90, a NOW founder, an educator, author, civil rights advocate, and the first Black woman to serve on a mayoral cabinet in New York City, died on January 17 in Harlem Hospital, NYC. She was married for 54 years to the late Merritt A. Hedgeman, an interpreter of Black folk music and opera. (01/17/90)

To commemorate the 17th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, NOW commissioned the Feminist Majority to create and erect a memorial to victims of illegal abortions. The memorial was inscribed with words written by Toni Carabillo: “In memory of the courageous women who died from illegal, unsafe abortions because they had no choice.” NOW’s national president, Molly Yard, presided over a memorial service which included the laying of wreaths, songs, and special guest speakers, including Bill and Karen Bell of Indianapolis, IN. In 1988, their 17-year-old daughter, Becky, died from an illegal abortion which she had sought in an effort to avoid using Indiana’s parental consent/or judicial bypass law. (01/22/90)

A study by the Institute of Medicine reported that the United States had fallen significantly behind other countries in developing new methods of birth control. Approximately 750,000 of the abortions performed annually in this country resulted from contraceptive failure. (02/90)

A lesbian, who jointly decided with her partner to have a child and who shared responsibility for the child’s upbringing, had no legal rights to visitation after the couple split up, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled. The case, Alison D. v. Virginia M. was on appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals. In September, NOW LDEF filed an amicus curiae brief in the Court of Appeals in support of a definition of parenthood broad enough to include two parents of the same sex. (03/90)

Some 550 pro-choice supporters turned out for a rally with the NOW Freedom Caravan in Grants Pass, OR, a strong-hold of survivalist and white supremist groups. An almost equal crowd of anti-abortion people surrounded the building where the rally was held to which only 250 abortion supporters could be admitted. While a face-off between the pros and antis outside was going on, inside the Mayor of Grants Pass and her daughter committed to fight for abortion rights both in their state and county. When the rally ended, some 25-30 anti-abortionists remained outside waiting for Molly Yard’s departure. When police took Yard and Vice President-Action Sheri O’Dell to a waiting police car, the protestors surged forward, surrounded the car and began pounding on the top, sides and windows shouting and threatening until the police could drive away. The anti-abortion initiative was defeated in the county on May 15. (04/90)

Anne Pride, a former NOW National Board member from 1975-78 and longtime activist for women’s issues, died in Pittsburgh, PA on April 24 of ovarian cancer. Pride was editor of NOW’s national newspaper, then called Do It NOW, from 1976 to 1978. (04/24/90)

A University of Pennsylvania study of over 1,000 children in divorced families nationwide from 1976 -1987 reported that the fathers of 42% of the children had neither seen nor contacted them at all in the previous year. Only one child in six saw her or his father once a week or more. (06/90)

At the 1990 NOW National Conference in San Francisco, Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson, a lesbian couple, were honored by NOW’s President Molly Yard with the Women of Courage Award. Thompson had been fighting a six-year court battle to become Kowalski’s legal guardian, since she was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Kowalski’s family provided only custodial care; Thompson was fighting for Kowalski’s right to proper medical and rehabilitative care. (06/29-07/01/90)

An internal Navy memo was leaked to the National NOW Action Center and to Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) by anonymous sources. The memo, written by Vice Admiral Joseph Donnell, urged intensified efforts to expel lesbians from the Navy while characterizing “the stereotypical female homosexual” as “hardworking, career-oriented, willing to put in long hours on the job and among the Command’s top professionals.” NOW President Molly Yard said of the memo, “Rarely is the public privy to such a clear example of the military’s homophobic, sexist bigotry. . . . This directive uses the military’s institutional homophobia to directly attack women in the Navy who are by the author’s own admission, ‘the Command’s top professionals.'”(07/90)

In daring defiance of the Saudi tradition against women driving themselves, 50 Saudi women, some accompanied by daughters, dismissed their drivers in a supermarket parking lot, slipped behind the wheels of their cars, and drove off in a convoy for about half an hour before being stopped and detained by police. There was no written law that prohibited women from driving, but tradition required them to have a paid driver or a relative at the wheel. (11/06/90)

Members of NOW picketed the Saudi Embassy to protest the treatment of the Saudi women who drove their own cars to establish their right to drive; and the NOW Board passed a resolution demanding that President Bush “act immediately to make basic civil rights for Saudi and Kuwaiti women a pre-condition for continued U.S. support of these countries.” (11/27/90)

Elizabeth Morgan, the woman who served 25 months in jail for contempt of court for refusing to disclose her daughter’s whereabouts, won custody of her eight-year-old daughter in New Zealand. Her ex-husband, whom Dr. Morgan accused of incestuously abusing their daughter, announced he was giving up the custody fight. A New Zealand family court judge ruled that the child and Dr. Morgan must remain in New Zealand. (12/90)

Norplant, a new form of contraception that uses implants that last for up to five years, was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. The small tubes planted under a woman’s skin, slowly release the hormone progestin. When the tubes are removed, fertility is restored. (12/90)


Agreeing with the NOW LDEF, which filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that the secrecy of the academic tenure process can be a shield for discrimination, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the University of Pennsylvania must make relevant files available to federal investigators. NOW LDEF became involved in the case as counsel for Professor Rosalie Tung who had accused the university of discriminating on the basis of sex and national origin. (01/90)

Derrick Bell, the first Black Professor at the Harvard Law School, announced he would take a leave of absence without pay until a Harvard appointed a tenured Black woman to its law faculty. It was a sacrifice he felt he had to make in good conscience. Of the schools 61 tenured faculty members, three are Black and five are women. Harvard Law School never had a tenured Black woman professor. though a spokesperson said they had been searching for one. Bell’s salary, at the top of the Harvard scale was between $115,000 and $125,000. The expected loss of his health insurance would be another substantial sacrifice since his wife was seriously ill. (04/23/90)

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education published Education For All: Women and Girls Speak Out on the National Education Goals which declared that educational goals must ensure that women and girls are full partners in the pursuit of educational excellence. The publication was an attempt to prod the Bush Administration into action on sex equity, a goal it had virtually abandoned. (05)

Mills College students’ two-week protest against changing to a coed institution resulted in the trustees’ reversal of their decision to abandon the school’s all-women enrollment policy. (06/90)

IBM announced that it would spend $3 million in 1991 to build five child-care centers near its offices and plants around the country to serve 530 pre-school children. It said it would spend an additional $500,000 in communities with large populations of IBM workers to improve existing day-care centers and to recruit and train people who care for children in their homes. The company did not plan to operate the centers; that would be done by companies specializing in child care. (12/12/90)


The Civil Rights Act of 1990, a bill that would have protected women and minorities from discrimination in the workforce, was vetoed by President Bush. The Administration said it would lead to quotas in employment, although the legislation stated quotas were prohibited. (10/90)

The Olympic Club of San Francisco, CA, a 130-year-old refuge for moneyed white men, agreed to admit women after years of legal wrangling with the city. Several all male and all-female clubs endured in San Francisco despite a city ordinance that outlawed discrimination based on race or sex. (12/12/90)

Car dealers charge women and Blacks higher prices than they charge white men, according to a study done in Chicago by an arm of the American Bar Association. Black, white and female researchers posing as middle class car shoppers, using the same tactics, negotiated their best prices at 90 Chicago-area dealerships on a car that cost the dealer about $11,000. White men got a final price offer that averaged $11,363; white women got final offer that averaged $11,504; Black men’s final prices averaged $11,783; and Black women’s final prices averaged $12,237. Ironically, the worst deals were offered by sellers of the same race and sex as the “buyer.” (12/14/90)


NOW activists in Washington, D.C., began picketing the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and at least 12 lay Catholic women’s organizations began organizing protests among their members and supporters protesting the $5 million contract with Hill & Knowlton and the Wirthlin Group to develop a campaign to end public support of legal abortion. (04/90)

About a third of Hill & Knowlton’s headquarters staff signed a letter protesting the agency’s contract with the Catholic Church to develop an anti-abortion campaign. Many others complained individually and one quit. The protest letter declared, “For management to seek out as well as accept an assignment whose ultimate goal is to limit our fundamental rights leaves us with a stinging sense of betrayal.” The company announced that its employees were “not compelled to work on projects to which they object.” (04/21/90)

The Vatican denied a German television report that its bank once held shares in a drug company that produced birth control pills. However, a spokesman at the Geneva headquarters of the pharmaceutical company Serono, said the Vatican did hold stock in its Rome subsidiary in the 1960s and possibly into the early 1970s, though he denied the company made birth control pills. (11/23/90)

More than 400 American Roman Catholic theologians charged that the Vatican had been throttling church reforms and imposing “an excessive Roman centralization.” The theologians contended that the Vatican had undercut a greater role for women, violated rights of theologians, slowed the ecumenical drive for Christian unity and undermined the collegial functioning of national conferences of bishops. (12/15/90)


Two male (Pittsburgh, PA), disk jockeys were ordered to pay a female news director nearly $700,000 in damages for making sexually explicit remarks about her on the air. The two were found liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and invasion of privacy. (02/90)

In a Washington state bookstore, Nikki Craft shredded four copies of Esquire magazine’s June issue which was promoted as “An Owner’s Manual” describing the American wife. Craft, arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, spent 23 days in jail because she refused to post bond. (06/90)

Nora Dunn, an NBC “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) regular, and singer Sinead O’Connor boycotted the SNL show when comic Andrew Dice Clay, known for his misogynist brand of humor, was booked as guest host. (05/90)

Pauline Frederick, a pioneering broadcast journalist who helped open radio and television newsrooms to other women, died at age 84. (05/09/90)

The Feminist Majority produced a new video, Abortion Denied: Shattering Young Women’s Lives, dramatizing the impact of parental consent and notification laws on young women’s lives and telling the Becky Bell story. (07/90)

The Feminist Press celebrated its 20th Anniversary. (1990)

Ms. magazine was reborn as a bi-monthly with no advertisements with American feminist Robin Morgan as its editor. (08/90)

The Amateur Athletic Foundation released a study that found that women’s sports received less air time than men’s. In the six-week study, men’s sports received 92% of the air time, while women’s sports only received 5%, and gender neutral topics, just 3%. (08/90)

Network television continued to give women fewer leading roles, both on screen and off, than it did to men. The on-screen television portrayals of women depicted them as “half-witted and needing to be rescued by a man,” reported the National Commission on Working Women. Also women made up 15% of producers, 25% of writers and only 9% of the directors in network television. (11/90)

Women at the publishing house of Simon and Schuster mounted a successful campaign against the publication of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, a novel describing in graphic detail a young investment banker’s obsession with the brutal killing of women. When the book was picked up for publication by Knopf, Tammy Bruce, president of Los Angeles NOW, led a nationwide boycott, arguing that while Knopf had the right to publish it, consumers had the right to express their outrage at a book condoning violence against women. (11/90)

A letter sent to Knopf and the press calling for a boycott of all books published by Knopf which, like American Psycho, celebrated violence against women was signed by Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin, Phyllis Chesler, Charlotte Bunch, Sidney Abbott, Kate Millet, Brenda Feigen and others. (12/08/90)


A federal district court held that a law passed in Guam, outlawing abortion except when the pregnancy endangered the life of a woman, and making it a felony to solicit a woman to have an abortion, was unconstitutional. Guam’s Government vowed to appeal the ruling. (08/90)

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on The Violence Against Women Act. If passed, the bill would establish new federal penalties for sexual assault and domestic violence, provide funding for battered women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, and rape prevention education on college campuses and provide judges with training on violent crimes against women. (08/90)

The California Judicial Advisory Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts published its report, bringing to 14 the number of state supreme court task forces on Gender Bias in the Courts that have published reports documenting serious bias against women as litigants, lawyers and court employees. The Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Utah task forces also published reports in 1990. More than 20 other states had task forces investigating gender bias in their court system. NOW LDEF’s project, the National Judicial Education program to Promote Equality for Women and Men in the Courts, was the catalyst for and works closely with the national gender bias task force movement. (11/90)

On the basis of federal injunctions obtained by National NOW in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia, Federal District Court Judge Northrup found Operation Rescue guilty of contempt of court for its activities in Maryland over the past year and set fines of $50,000 for each future violation of the injunction. Previously, the court found Operation Rescue and several of its leaders guilty of contempt for their activities during 1989’s “DC Project,” and set fines of $25,000 for Operation Rescue and $5,000, doubled with each successive violation, for its leaders and those working with them. (11/08/90)

In settlement of the case in which George Washington Medical Center subjected a terminally ill pregnant woman to a Caesarean section against her wishes and those of her husband, parents and physicians, the hospital adopted a policy to ensure that decisions about the treatment of seriously ill women and their fetuses would be made by the woman, her family and her own doctors, not the courts. (11/90)

Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste granted clemency to 25 women prisoners who he said had committed crimes because they were victims of battering or other forms of physical or emotional abuse. Celeste, a lame duck governor, said he had reviewed 105 cases in which “battered woman syndrome” was suspected. The Ohio Supreme Court and state legislature established the syndrome as a defense against murder and other crimes in March, 1990. (12/22/90)


NOW’s Freedom Caravan for Women’s Lives began a five-day tour of Pennsylvania to recruit challengers to incumbent anti-abortion state legislators. The tour began in Delaware County, home of Rep. Steven Freind, the chief sponsor of the 1989 Abortion Control Act, the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. Freind was also notorious for his declaration that female rape victims couldn’t get pregnant because they secreted a body fluid that killed sperm. (02/28/90)

NOW’s Freedom Caravan for Women’s Lives and the Feminist Majority campaign in Pennsylvania paid off. By the conclusion of the March 6 filing date for candidates for the 1990 elections, 91 women had filed for the state legislature. Only 17 women served in the legislature out of a total membership of 252. Many of the male candidates were also running on pro-abortion rights positions.(03/06/90)

NOW’s Freedom Caravan for Women’s Lives and the Feminist Majority campaign in Pennsylvania paid off. By the conclusion of the March 6 filing date for candidates for the 1990 elections, 91 women had filed for the state legislature. Only 17 women served in the legislature out of a total membership of 252. Many of the male candidates were also running on pro-abortion rights positions.(03/06/90)

NOW’s Freedom Caravan for Women’s Lives in a back-to-back, three-state tour, barnstormed Nevada, Oregon and Massachusetts in a successful quest for activist volunteers for the 1990 elections. The Nevada tour also worked to develop support for a ballot referendum to codify existing law that basically paralleled the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. (04/05/90)

Delegates to the 1990 NOW National Conference in San Francisco re-elected Molly Yard as National NOW President along with her ticket of Patricia Ireland, Vice-President-Executive; Rosemary Dempsey, Vice President-Action; and Kim Gandy, Secretary. The Yard ticket ran for a three-year term in which Yard and Ireland would split the presidency of the organization, with Yard retiring in December, 1991 when, under NOW’s by-laws, she would be succeeded by Ireland. To fill the vacancy in the office of Vice President-Executive, the delegates passed a resolution calling on the National Board of Directors to elect Gandy to fill that vacancy, and to elect former Southeast Regional Board member Ginny Montes to succeed Gandy as National Secretary. The conference resolution was not binding on the board, because under NOW’s by-laws, it was the board that had the power to fill vacancies in any office between national conferences. (06/29-07/01/90)

The NOW Commission on Responsive Democracy, created by a resolution at the 1989 National Conference, held its organizing meeting in Washington, D.C. (07/16/90)

Eleanor Smeal and Peg Yorkin of the Feminist Majority Foundation led a delegation of 10 scientists and feminist leaders, including Patricia Ireland, Vice President Executive of NOW, to meet with executives of Roussel- Uclaf in France and Hoechst, A.G. in Frankfurt. They presented the executives with 115,530 petitions urging the introduction of RU-486 in the United States. This was the first American group to meet with the manufacturerers of RU-486, a safe medication for abortion. (07/23-25/90)

Karen and Bill Bell, whose daughter Becky died as a result of seeking an illegal abortion because of Indiana’s parental consent law, joined forces with the Feminist Majority in a national campaign against parental consent/notification laws. (08/90)

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on The Violence Against Women Act. If passed, the bill would establish new federal penalties for sexual assault and domestic violence, provide funding for battered women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, and rape prevention education on college campuses and provide judges with training on violent crimes against women. (08/90)

In Oregon, Ballot Measure 10, a parental notification provision, was defeated 52%-48%, and Ballot Measure 8, which would have banned abortion except in certain circumstances, was defeated 67%-33%. The Feminist Majority played a pivotal role in the defeat of these initiatives. Ellie Smeal toured campuses to register record numbers of students, and Bill and Karen Bell made a follow-up tour, telling the tragic story of their daughter’s death (pg. 128). FFM staff members Lynda Tocci, Nancy Bowles, Jennifer Jackman, and FFM National Coordinator Katherine Spillar worked with local groups to achieve the victory. (11/08/90)

Democrat Ann Richards, 57, was elected governor of Texas, defeating Republican “Old Boy” Clayton Williams in a bruising campaign in which he outspent her $20 million to $11 million. Richards championed feminist issues throughout her campaign and won with a sizeable Gender Gap: she got 61% of her votes from women. In Oregon, Barbara Robert, 52, was elected governor. Exit polls showed that Roberts had captured 30% more votes from women than her Republican opponent, Attorney General David Frohnmayer. Sharon Pratt Dixon, 46, was elected the mayor of Washington, DC, the first Black woman to head the government of a major city. Anti-abortion Democrat Joan Finney, 65, was elected Governor of Kansas. In California, Democrat Dianne Feinstein narrowly lost the race for governor to Pete Wilson, 46%-49%. (11/08/90)

Eighty-five women ran for statewide office across the country this year, and 57 of them won. The result was three women governors, six lieutenant governors, 10 secretaries of state, three attorneys general and 12 state treasurers. On the national level, in the Senate there were only two women out of 100 members and 28 women out of 435 members in the House of Representatives. (11/90)

The Backlash

The February issue of Lear’s magazine, founded by Frances Lear, (ex-spouse of TV’s Norman Lear), published a misinformation-packed and derogatory article on NOW by Margaret Carlson, a senior writer for Time magazine. (02/90)

Governor Cecil Andrus of Idaho vetoed the most restrictive state abortion law in the country. Andrus was the target of intense lobbying by both sides of the abortion issue that included 20,000 telephone calls, letters and messages. NOW and other women’s groups threatened a national boycott of Idaho products. (03/30/90)

AT&T ended 25 years of contributions to Planned Parenthood because of “unprecedented concern” from employees, customers and shareholders that the money was being used to fund abortions. The Christian Action Council, based in Falls Church, VA, took credit for the AT&T decision. The funds were actually used for teen-pregnancy prevention. (03/90)

Randall Terry, founder and director of Operation Rescue, resigned from running the day-to-day operations of the anti-choice organization to campaign, he said, against judges and district attorneys who enforce laws on behalf of woman denied access to clinics. (05/90)

Iron John, A Book About Men by Robert Bly was published and became the bible of a “men’s movement.” Bly used the Grimm fairy tale “Iron John,” in which a mentor or “Wild Man” guides a young man through eight stages of male growth. (1990)

Since 1988 a network of 60 conservative student publications on college campuses was created by donations from the Olin Foundation, the Madison Center for Educational Affairs and the Leadership Institute, all far Right organizations. The publications campaign against affirmative action, women’s studies and Black studies. (1990)

Seventeen members of Operation Rescue were convicted of trespassing during an anti-abortion protest at a Colorado Springs, CO, clinic. (08/23/90)

The American Bar Association (ABA) rescinded the policy it adopted in February opposing legislation that interfered with a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy at any time before viability or thereafter to protect her life or health. The ABA adopted a policy that it characterized as “neutral,” taking no position on abortion. (08/90)

Pat Robertson formed the American Center for Law and Justice, a not-for-profit public interest law firm and educational organization to promote “pro-liberty, pro-life and pro-family causes.” (1990)

A backlash against the Saudi women who drove their cars swept two women’s university campuses, prompting the suspension of at least six professors who participated in the driving protest. Labeled “infidels” and “depraved women” by their students, the women were suspended by royal decree from their teaching jobs at the women’s section of King Saud University after hundreds of students signed petitions asserting they did not want to be taught by them. The women in the demonstration had all been dressed conservatively in full abas (robes) and head scarves, but later rumors circulated that they had been wearing shorts and had burned their abas. (11/12/90)

As the conservative protests mounted, the Saudi government announced that women who drove automobiles in the kingdom were “portents of evil” and subject to appropriate punishment. (11/15/90)

The Saudi Interior Minister announced that the monarchy had banned any new demonstrations or other demands for change by women. Prince Naif, a leading member of the royal family, asserted that some of the protesting women were not raised in Saudi Arabia and were “not brought up in an Islamic home,” a statement that bordered on labeling the women blasphemers and foreigners. In fact, the women were from some of the most prominent families in the country and belonged to the small but highly influential Westernized professional class that was in direct conflict with the conservative Muslim establishment. (11/28/90)

During the year, Mademoiselle magazine asked, “Is Sisterhood Still Powerful?”, Newsweek headlined “The Failure of Feminism,” and the New York Times wrote on “Feminism, A Dirty Word.”

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