Gender Equality in the United States

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Gender equality in the United States has, at times, been an activist movement in and of itself and, more recently, has been subsumed within diversity and inclusion as well as human rights initiatives. As an activist movement, gender equality has shaped and been shaped by three distinct major “waves.” The first wave focused on women’s suffrage, or the right of women to vote, which appealed to the ways women differently and necessarily shaped the moral character of the nation and culminated in the passing of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution in 1920. In the 1960s and 1970s and concurrent with social change (e.g., widespread political unrest, demographic shifts including large-scale entry of white women into the US labor force, and other activist agendas such as civil rights), the second wave fostered the reexamination of legal, institutional, socialization, cultural, psychic, biological and other forces that contribute to differential treatment of women and men (for overview, see Buzzanell, 1994). These forces, while noting difference, were also harnessed for sameness arguments for women’s rights to equal pay and distribution of marital properties upon marital dissolution, amongst other arguments, legislation, policies and practices in institutions across sectors.

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Gender Equality in the United States, in A. Ortenblad, R. Marling & S. Vasiljevic (Eds.), Gender Equality in a Global Perspective, Routledge, p. 177-197