How much progress was made toward freedom, equailty, and opportunity for women in the mid-1970s?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best answer to this is that some progress was made, but not nearly as much as many women would have liked.

During the mid-1970s, there were definitely improvements made in the status of women.  The most important of these changes in legal terms was the Supreme Court’s decision in Frontiero v. Richardson.  In this case, the Court had to decide whether the Air Force could provide benefits to the wives of male officers while refusing to provide them to the husbands of female officers.  This sort of law had been rather common in the United States.  In Frontiero, however, the Court struck down this sort of law.  It said that the government had to have a good reason to discriminate on the basis of sex.  It did not give sex the same level of protection that race got, but it still gave much more protection to women than it had before.

However, the mid-1970s were also the time of a major disappointment for women.  This came as the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified.  This amendment would have said that

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

However, conservative opposition to the amendment led to it being rejected and women did not get the degree of progress that they had hoped for.