Does anyone know what the minority group "women" was affected by, prior to the 1960s civil rights acts.

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The idea that women were supposed to "stay in the home, cook the dinner, and raise the children" was very strong as a cultural belief, and dates back to the times of the Puritans.  It was an idea that died hard, and one of the main reasons there even needed to be a women's rights movement in the 1960s.

Another thing to consider that women were affected by is the availability of family planning/birth control.  It was illegal for a long time for a woman even to buy it, and abortion was illegal in most places for a long time too.  The birth control pill was not invented until 1961, finally giving women the ability to control the number of children they had.  Women's access to birth control was affirmed not long after by the Supreme Court case Griswold vs. Connecticut.

Not surprisingly, soon after that, women also had the time and ability to become more politically active in pursuing their own rights.

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Women were, of course, affected by all sorts of things before the 1960s civil rights acts.  I'll try to mention a few that would have had a lot of impact.

  • In 1920, women got the right to vote in all elections in the United States.
  • In the '20s, they came to have more freedom in terms of what society would "allow" them to do.
  • In World War II, more women worked in "men's" jobs.  They did things that had never before been open to women.  This expanded their ideas of what was possible.
  • Then in the 1950s they got forced back into more traditional roles.  This is blamed for making them unhappy and leading to the protests of feminists in the '60s.
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