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11 Ordinary Things Women Weren’t Allowed To Do In The ’50s And ’60s

Jessica Catcher by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

In school, we all learned about how hard women worked to earn their right to vote during the suffrage movement, before the constitutional amendment was finally passed in 1920. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an entire gender being faced with oppression over the years.

We’re obviously still battling against several issues today, but seeing the things my mother and grandmother were forced to endure has really opened my eyes. I mean, I always knew things were different back in the day, but I can’t believe how long it took for a wife to not be legally classified as “subordinate” to her husband — much less, how difficult it was for a single gal to get her own bank account and credit card.

Some of these setbacks were cleared up in the 1970s and ’80s, but I was shocked by how recently a few of these restrictions were still in place.

Did we miss an unfair obstacle you remember butting heads with in the past? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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1. Open A Bank Account

1. Open A Bank Account

At least, not without their husband or a male relative’s permission until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974.

2. Serve Jury Duty

2. Serve Jury Duty

Slowly, states separately allowed women to sit in the jury box over the years until Mississippi finally became the last state to legalize it in 1968.

3. Practice Law

3. Practice Law

Even if they had gone through all the years of school and passed every test, women could still be denied the right to plead a client’s case until 1971.

4. Take Birth Control Pills

4. Take Birth Control Pills

The contraceptive was approved in 1960, but it was still banned in several states for the next few years.

5. Go On Maternity Leave

5. Go On Maternity Leave

If they were able to have a job, they most often lost it when they became pregnant until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

6. Breastfeed In Public

6. Breastfeed In Public

Public areas were still able to prohibit mothers from breastfeeding until a bill was finally passed by Congress, making this discrimination illegal.

7. Attend An Ivy League University

7. Attend An Ivy League University

Harvard would not allow women applicants until 1977, but Yale and Princeton were only slightly ahead by admitting their first female students in 1969.

8. Attend A Military Academy

8. Attend A Military Academy

The first female students at West Point Academy were not accepted until 1976.

9. Run The Boston Marathon

9. Run The Boston Marathon

The legendary marathon was an all-male event until 1972.

10. Serve In Combat

10. Serve In Combat

Despite all of the hard work women have put into the military for decades, they weren’t allowed on the front lines until very recently in 2013.

11. Become An Astronaut

11. Become An Astronaut

NASA denied women until Sally Ride broke the mold in 1978.

Did you remember all of these things that women were being held back from? Did we forget something from our list? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!