Things Women Couldn't Do Before 1971

photo by malleja retsan reunassa

Every so often, something is posted on social media that gets reposted or retweeted because people think that it is true. Often, the original source of that information is unknown. Recently, someone put a post on Facebook about things that women could not do in 1971. What was true? What was false? USA Today a fact check.

Getting A Credit Card in Their Own Name – True

According to CNN, in the 1960s, a bank could refuse to issue a credit card to an unmarried woman. Even if she was married, her husband was required to cosign. As recently as the 1970s, credit cards in many cases were issued only with a husband’s signature. 

The Federal Trade Commission website states that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act includes the VII of the Consumer Credit Protection, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance, or good faith exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It also requires creditors to provide applicants, upon request, with the reasons underlying decisions to deny credit.

Serve On A Jury – partly false

The post states that women were kept out of some jury pools in 1971 because they were considered the center of the home and were “too fragile to hear the grisly details of crimes and too sympathetic by nature to be able to remain objective about those accused offenses.”

According to the Associated Press, in 1968, a photo was taken featuring six women who made history by reporting for jury duty. The photo was printed the Clearwater Record – Ewing News. At the time, District Judge Geoerge Dittrick said: “This is a special occasion since this is the first time in Antelope County that a jury has been empaneled consisting of both men and women. This is further evidence of the progress of the day and age in which we live.”

Wiley Online Library stated: “In the United States, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 provided that women could serve on juries in federal courts even in states that did not permit women to serve on juries in state courts. For the first time, federal courts had uniform qualifications for jurors. Also for the first time, women could serve as federal jurors regardless of state practice.

Take Legal Action Against Workplace Sexual Harassment – True

Wikipedia states that, in 1974, Barnes v. Train was the first sexual harassment case in America (even though the term “sexual harassment” was not used.) Paulette Barnes, a payroll clerk who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency brought her case after losing her job for refusing the advances of a male supervisor. The case was originally dismissed.

It was won on appeal in Barnes v. Costle. The original findings were reversed by the District Columbia Court of Appeals, that ruled that it was sex discrimination for a woman to suffer tangible employment losses (such as losing her job) for refusing to submit to request for sexual favors.

Take The Birth Control Pill – partially false because birth control was available to some women

USA Today reported that “The Pill” was approved for use as a contraception in 1960. It was illegal in some states and could only be prescribed to married women for purposes of family planning. CNN reported that It wasn’t until years later that  birth control was approved for use by all woman, regardless of marital status.

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