Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Women in the US

"Female passengers were banned from United Airlines’ “executive flights” from New York to Chicago, and in some states women were barred from jury duty lest time spent in the courtroom “encourage lax performance of their domestic duties.” “Hell, yes, we have a quota,” admitted a medical school dean. “We do keep women out, when we can. The practice of paying women less for doing the same jobs as men was not only accepted but routine; a wife’s credit card was issued in her husband’s name; and women had trouble securing bank loans to buy a house or even a car. The National Press Club was off limits to women until 1971. No one much questioned these regulations and customs — the dress codes requiring women to wear skirts instead of pants, the firing of airline stewardesses who gained too much weight — nor was there vocal opposition to the sort of prohibitions that we decry when they appear in dispatches from some benighted emirate or sheikdom. The early pages of Ms. Collins’s book are peppered with accounts of incidents so outrageous they almost seem like jokes. A draft of a Congressional bill to insure equal pay for women was discovered to have been filed “under B — for ‘broads.’ ” At a pregraduation party at Barnard, one woman remembers, students who were engaged to be married were handed corsages, while their classmates without engagement rings were presented with lemons."