Status of American Women
The National Organization for Women (NOW) that was established in 1966 is an that is devoted to achieving full equality for women through education and litigation. Although not the only group fighting for women's rights, it quickly became known as one of the best and most supported. Today NOW has over half a million members and more than 500 local and campus affiliates in all 50 states. NOW was founded at the time when women were entering the paid force in increasing numbers.
Throughout the 1960s to the 1980s were subject to major changes in the status of working women. Legal barriers to gender based employment and pay discrimination were eliminated. The gender wage gap narrowed significantly, with women earning 59 cents an hour to every dollar earned by a man in 1964, but this has now risen to 77 cents per hour in 2004. The percentage of women in the force with a college degree went up from 11.2% in 1970 to 32.6% in 2004, rising at basically twice the rate for men. So although the cannot be directly linked with these social improvements they certainly contributed to the improvement.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (born 1933) is the second woman ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court and is known as the legal architect of the modern women's movement. As a law student she was one of only 8 women in a class of more than 500 and Ginsburg and her female classmates were asked by the dean why they were occupying seats that would be otherwise filled by men. She became the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Whilst becoming the first female professor at Columbia she also served as the director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union where she was involved in six cases on gender equality. She also believed that the law was gender blind and all groups were entitled to equal rights. She was appointed to the US Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993 and six years later she received the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.