American Women!
A Celebration of Our History
April 22 -- October 29, 2000

Baby Boomers Expand the Boundaries

Click on the photo to see an enlarged view

These four decades roughly coincide with the "baby boom" generation. Women were nurtured in the 1950s, rebelled against authority in the 1960s, asserted their rights in the 1970s, and took on new leadership responsibilities in the 1980s.

By 1950, millions of WWII veterans had married their sweethearts, returned to college, and settled down in suburbia. Women were expected to stay at home and take care of the kids, while the hubby earned enough money to support the family.

But the 1960s saw many women object to this limited role. Increasingly, women sought college degrees and careers. They gained greater control over their bodies through the birth control pill, and joined in youthful protest that often included sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

The 1970s became a decade of empowerment for women, many of whom moved into traditionally male professions such as medicine, law and business. Congress passed an Equal Rights Amendment--although it was never ratified by the states. The Supreme Court upheld a woman's right to have an abortion, even though this decision continues to be controversial.

The 1980s were a decade of "firsts" as American women hurtled into space and were appointed to the Supreme Court. A record number were elected to Congress and to the boards of major corporations. Women had not yet achieved equality, but received well-deserved recognition for their contributions to American life.

American Women!

Mamie Eisenhower, Army Wife and First Lady
Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood Legends
Lucille Ball, Comedienne
Grandma Moses, Painter
Ethel Rosenberg, Convicted Spy
Jackie Cochran, Aviator
Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist
Margaret Chase Smith, Conscience of the Senate
Rachel Carson, Ecologist
Barbara Jordan and Lady Bird Johnson, Politics and the Environment
Pat Nixon and Katharine Graham, Watergate
Joan Baez and Janis Joplin, Folksinger and Rock Star
Ayn Rand and Dorothy Day, Writers and Philosophers
Helen Gurley Brown, Writer and Editor
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman
Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter, Popular First Ladies
Nancy Reagan, First Lady and Caregiver
Grace Hopper, Professor, Computer Pioneer, and Admiral
Sally Ride, Astronaut

"red arrow" Continue the story--NEXT... ."Into the 21st Century, 1990 onward"
or visit:"
  From Colony to Country, 1600-1800 "From Prairie to Polls, 1870-1920"
  From Growth to Civil War, 1800-1870 "From Jazz to War 1920-1950"
"red arrow" View an alphabetical list of all 106 women included in American Women! with links to photos and biographies for selected women
"red arrow" View a Thank You to over 100 lenders to American Women!
"red arrow" Return to American Women! index page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum virtual exhibits page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum main index page