Women have always fought for gender equality and equal rights. After the constitutional amendment was passed in 1920, women had the right to vote. Since then, several women have made major strides for the world to hear their voices. Decades after their movements, they achieved the rights to several things that we consider ordinary. Even today, there are places around the world that suppress the rights of women. Countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Dubai and several other countries still restrict women from doing several things that the rest of the world considers to be ordinary. You might think that not having the right to vote was bad. Well, you might want to consider again. Here are a few things from the past, mainly during the 50’s and 60’s, that women were banned from doing.
1. Opening a bank account.
Until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, many modern women in the US and Europe were not allowed to handle money. Even having a job or buying wine or beer in a pub was seen as a sign of financial desperation. In some cases, the woman had to acquire her husband or male relative’s permission.
2. Getting a credit card.
There was a time in history when banks wanted to control how women spent the money they earned. During the 60’s and 70’s, single or divorced females that applied for credit cards were required to bring a male friend or relative to co-sign their applications. It wasn’t until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, that lenders stopped discrimination based on a person’s gender and marital status.
3. Serve on jury.
In the United States, each state had different views for women to serve on jury duty. Utah deemed women fit to serve as a juror back in 1879. It wasn’t until 1973 that all 50 states uplifted the law that prohibited women from serving on juries. The reason why they were withheld for so long was the fact that women were considered the center of the home and caregivers. They were also considered to be too fragile to listen to horrific crimes that are brought into court.
4. Go on birth control pills.
In the 1960’s, issues such as reproductive freedom and the right to decide when and whether to have children had just began as a topic of discussion. Even though in 1957 the FDA approved the birth control pill, they were only supposed to be used for “severe menstrual distress.” It wasn’t until several years later that birth control pills were used as a contraceptive regardless of the woman’s status.
5. Wearing practical bath suits.
During the 1920’s, the public beach was no place for a woman to show too much skin. Many states prohibited women from showing too much leg. To ensure that women followed the rules, law enforcement agents often patrolled the beaches with measuring tapes. Any woman who wore something other than an ankle-length potato sack would be asked to change. If she exceeded the limit, she could have very well been arrested. It wasn’t until the 1950’s, when the bikini was introduced, that the law was swept away with the waves. Until 1937, men were also limited at the beach and were not allowed to appear topless.