Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (2022)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, color, or national origin in public places, schools, and employment. However, discrimination based on sex was not initially included in the proposed bill, and was only added as an amendment in Title VII in an attempt to prevent its passage.

Congressman Howard Smith (D-VA), Chairman of the Rules Committee and a staunch opponent of civil rights, had let the bill (H.R. 7152) go to the full House only under the threat of a discharge petition. During the floor debate, he offered an amendment that added sex to the four original categories, but only in Title VII (equal employment opportunity). Although Smith had supported the idea of an Equal Rights Amendment for women for nearly 20 years at that point, his amendment to the civil rights bill was likely intended to kill the measure. His plan did not have the desired effect, however, and the bill was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.

After the bill was passed, the government began work on policies that would enforce the new laws. As a result, Executive Order 11246 was issued on September 24, 1965, to address compliance with civil rights regulations. However, it made no mention of discrimination based on sex.

The omission of women’s rights did not go unnoticed. Many women and advocacy groups wrote to President Johnson, expressing the need to expand Executive Order 11246 to include enforcement of discrimination against women. Following are samples of letters sent to President Johnson.

The president of the District of Columbia State Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs called the omission of sex in Executive Order 11246 to the White House’s attention several months later, as would other women’s advocates.

The National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in October 1966, lost no time in pressing President Johnson to realize the promise of equal employment opportunity for women contained in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While praising him for his efforts to promote the advancement of women as employees of the Federal government and of Federal contractors through his Executive Order 11246, the new organization’s leaders also pointed out the omission of sex in its wording, and expressed disappointment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) did not seem willing or able to carry out that part of the law’s mandate.

Among the emphases in President Johnson’s omnibus 1967 Special Message to the Congress on Equal Justice was the need to continue to expand opportunity in the areas covered by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His remarks about addressing employment discrimination were framed solely in racial terms, however, so the leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) took the opportunity to remind him that those concerns applied to sex discrimination as well. They zeroed in again on the omission of sex from Executive Order 11246 and urged him to correct it.

The omission of sex in Executive Order 11246 was finally rectified in Executive Order 11375 on October 13, 1967. In a letter to President Johnson, the leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) hailed the correction, but remained unsatisfied with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) performance in making the new order effective. The letter was signed by Kathryn Clarenbach, Betty Friedan, and Caroline Davis, officers of NOW from its inception, as well as Aileen Hernandez, who had announced her resignation from the EEOC over its lack of attention to women’s issues a year before Executive Order 11375 was issued.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) also applauded the belated inclusion of women in Executive Order 11375.

Praise for the inclusion of women as beneficiaries of the Federal government’s ban on employment discrimination also came from black women’s groups such as the National Association of Media Women.

Frankie Freeman had been appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President Johnson and expressed her appreciation as president of the black women’s service sorority Delta Sigma Theta for the explicit addition of women to those protected from bias in employment.

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Allen Fisher, Archivist, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum

Featured Documents:

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (1)

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Letter, Paul M. Popple to Mrs. Thelma R. Davenport, 5/17/66), with attached letter, Mrs. Thelma R. Davenport to the President, 5/7/66.

View in National Archives Catalog

(Video) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Who does it really protect? - Women’s Rights in the U...

The president of the District of Columbia State Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs called the omission of sex in Executive Order 11246 to the White House’s attention several months later, as would other women’s advocates.

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (2)

PDF Link

Letter, Betty Friedan to Marvin Watson, 12/5/66, with attached letters, Marvin Watson to Kathryn Clarenbach, Betty Friedan, Caroline Davis, 11/22/66, and Kathryn Clarenbach, Betty Friedan, Caroline Davis to the President, 11/11/66.

View in National Archives Catalog

The National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in October 1966, lost no time in pressing President Johnson to realize the promise of equal employment opportunity for women contained in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While praising him for his efforts to promote the advancement of women as employees of the Federal government and of Federal contractors through his Executive Order 11246, the new organization’s leaders also pointed out the omission of sex in its wording, and expressed disappointment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) did not seem willing or able to carry out that part of the law’s mandate.

(Video) The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Explained | This Day Forward | msnbc

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (3)

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Letter, Harry McPherson to Kathryn Clarenbach, 3/20/67, with attached letter, Betty Friedan, Kathryn Clarenbach, Caroline Davis to the President, 3/6/67.

View in National Archives Catalog

Among the emphases in President Johnson’s omnibus 1967 Special Message to the Congress on Equal Justice, transmitted on February 15, was the need to continue to expand opportunity in the areas covered by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His remarks about addressing employment discrimination were framed solely in racial terms, so the leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) took the opportunity to remind him that those concerns applied to sex discrimination as well. They zeroed in again on the omission of sex from Executive Order 11246 and urged him to correct it.

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (4)

PDF Link

(Video) Kate Dudding The Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Memo, Marvin Watson to John Macy, 10/31/67, with attached letter, Kathryn Clarenbach, Betty Friedan, Aileen Hernandez, Caroline Davis to Marvin Watson, 10/27/67.

View in National Archives Catalog

The omission of sex in Executive Order 11246 was rectified in Executive Order 11375 just over two years later (October 13, 1967). The leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) hailed the correction, but remained unsatisfied with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) performance in making the new order effective. In addition to Kathryn Clarenbach, Betty Friedan, and Caroline Davis, officers of NOW from its inception, this letter was signed by Aileen Hernandez, who had announced her resignation from the EEOC over its lack of attention to women’s issues a year before Executive Order 11375 was issued.

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (5)

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Letter, Whitney Shoemaker to Dr. Francena L. Miller, 11/1/67, with attached: letter, Mrs. Francena L. Miller to the President, 10/19/67.

View in National Archives Catalog

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) also applauded the belated inclusion of women, who had been overlooked in the drafting of Executive Order 11246, as beneficiaries of the Federal government’s ban on employment discrimination.

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (6)

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White House Referral, Whitney Shoemaker to the Secretary of Labor, 10/24/67, with attached resolution, National Association of Media Women to the President, 10/14/67.

View in National Archives Catalog

(Video) The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Was Signed Into Law On July 2, 1964 By President LBJ

Praise for the inclusion of women as beneficiaries of the Federal government’s ban on employment discrimination also came from black women’s groups such as the National Association of Media Women.

Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (7)

PDF Link

Letter, Whitney Shoemaker to Miss Frankie Freeman, 10/26/67, with attached letter, Frankie Freeman to the President, 10/19/67.

View in National Archives Catalog

Frankie Freeman had been appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President Johnson and expressed her appreciation as president of the black women’s service sorority Delta Sigma Theta for the explicit addition of women to those protected from bias in employment.

FAQs

What were 3 main points of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

The Act prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also strengthened the enforcement of voting rights and the desegregation of schools. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the nation's benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America.

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do? ›

This act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. It was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

What role did the civil rights act play in relation to the women's movement? ›

Finally, by eventually excluding women, the civil rights movement spurred women to organize their own movement. Without the civil rights movement, the women's movement likely would never taken off on its own. The civil rights movement (and the activists involved) gave women a model for success.

How did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affect women's rights quizlet? ›

Women's right to vote. The signification was that 50 years had passed since women were given the right to vote but they were not being treated like equals. This helped women fight and push for civil rights.

Who was against the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Democrats and Republicans from the Southern states opposed the bill and led an unsuccessful 60 working day filibuster, including Senators Albert Gore, Sr. (D-TN) and J. William Fulbright (D-AR), as well as Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), who personally filibustered for 14 hours straight.

What are the six major provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

What Did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Do? Broadly speaking, it prohibited discrimination and segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex in voting, workplaces, places of education, housing, and public accommodations.

Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a turning point? ›

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 hastened the end of legal Jim Crow. It secured African Americans equal access to restaurants, transportation, and other public facilities. It enabled blacks, women, and other minorities to break down barriers in the workplace.

Which of the following is true of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Which of the following is true of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? It outlawed segregation in public facilities on the basis of race, sex, or national origin.

What happened after the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Legacy of the Civil Rights Act

It also paved the way for two major follow-up laws: the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of property.

What laws protect women's civil rights? ›

Today, women file suits based on the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause and on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, and win favorable decisions.

Who started the women's rights movement? ›

Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a young mother from upstate New York, and the Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott, about 300 people—most of whom were women—attended the Seneca Falls Convention to outline a direction for the women's rights movement.

What caused women's rights? ›

From the founding of the United States, women were almost universally excluded from voting. Only when women began to chafe at this restriction, however, was their exclusion made explicit. The movement for woman suffrage started in the early 19th century during the agitation against slavery.

Why did the women's movement gain strength in 1964? ›

How did the women's movement gain strength with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Discrimination was prohibited based on race, religion, national origin, and gender. What does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) do?

What was the main goal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 quizlet? ›

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: Passed under the Johnson administration, this act outlawed segregation in public areas and granted the federal government power to fight black disfranchisement. The act also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to prevent discrimination in the work place.

What was the major effect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 quizlet? ›

It ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, is considered one of the crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement.

What ended the civil rights movement? ›

Why are civil rights important? ›

Civil rights are an essential component of democracy. They're guarantees of equal social opportunities and protection under the law, regardless of race, religion, or other characteristics. Examples are the rights to vote, to a fair trial, to government services, and to a public education.

What was the purpose of the civil rights movement? ›

Contents. The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for Black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States.

What is Title 4 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Religious Discrimination

Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorizes the Attorney General to address certain equal protection violations based on religion, among other bases, in public schools and institutions of higher education.

What are the 10 civil rights? ›

Civil Liberties
  • Freedom of speech.
  • Freedom of the press.
  • Freedom of religion.
  • Freedom to vote.
  • Freedom against unwarranted searches of your home or property.
  • Freedom to have a fair court trial.
  • Freedom to remain silent in a police interrogation.

What are two things that the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits? ›

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

How did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affect voting rights? ›

It gave the federal government the authority to send federal registrars and observers to register new voters and oversee elections. It also required pre-clearance of new election-related legislation in specific locations (states, primarily) with a history of voting rights discrimination.

Who opposed the civil rights movement? ›

Opposition to civil rights was led by elected officials, journalists, and community leaders who shared racist ideologies, shut down public schools and parks to prevent integration, and encouraged violence against civil rights activists.

What was one major achievement of the civil rights movement? ›

The landmark 1964 act barred discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin in public facilities — such as restaurants, theaters, or hotels. Discrimination in hiring practices was also outlawed, and the act established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help enforce the law.

When did females get equal rights? ›

On March 22, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the U.S. Senate and sent to the states for ratification. First proposed by the National Woman's political party in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was to provide for the legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

When did women's rights come into effect? ›

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. The 19th amendment legally guarantees American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle—victory took decades of agitation and protest.

What is Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. ("Title VI") Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.

Who has the biggest impact on the civil rights movement? ›

Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was the nation's most prominent leader in the 20th century struggle for civil rights.

How did the Civil Rights Act fail? ›

The biggest failure of the Civil Rights Movement was in the related areas of poverty and economic discrimination. Despite the laws we got passed, there is still widespread discrimination in employment and housing. Businesses owned by people of color are still denied equal access to markets, financing, and capital.

Who started the Civil Rights Act? ›

President John F. Kennedy proposed the initial civil rights act.

Are women's rights protected? ›

The US Constitution does not in fact guarantee equality of the sexes. While women's suffrage is constitutionally protected, nowhere does the Constitution prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. This, however, is not for lack of trying. In 1923, suffragist Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

What were 3 major events in the women's rights movement? ›

Here are just some of the many important events that happened as women gained the right to vote.
  • 1848. First Women's Rights Convention. ...
  • 1849. The First National Women's Rights Convention. ...
  • 1851. “Ain't I a woman?” ...
  • 1861-1865. The Civil War. ...
  • 1866. Formation of the American Equal Rights Association. ...
  • 1867. ...
  • 1868. ...
  • 1870.
10 Nov 2020

Who pushed for women's right to vote? ›

Women in America first collectively organized in 1848 at the First Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY to fight for suffrage (or voting rights). Organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the convention sparked the women's suffrage movement.

Is women's rights still an issue today? ›

Today, gender bias continues to create huge barriers for many women. Ongoing struggles include ensuring equal economic opportunities, educational equity, and an end to gender-based violence.

What is the main role of a woman in our society? ›

Women are the primary caretakers of children and elders in every country of the world. International studies demonstrate that when the economy and political organization of a society change, women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges.

How did the women's rights movement affect society? ›

Voting ensures women's reproductive and economic progress. The 19th Amendment helped millions of women move closer to equality in all aspects of American life. Women advocated for job opportunities, fairer wages, education, sex education, and birth control.

What are the problems faced by women's in society? ›

Six women's issues explained with emojis
  • 1) Violence against women and girls. ...
  • 2) Gender pay gap. ...
  • 3) Digital gender divide. ...
  • 4) Informal work and instability. ...
  • 5) Period poverty and stigma. ...
  • 6) Underrepresentation as leaders in health.
17 Jul 2020

How was the women's rights movement successful? ›

The women's movement was most successful in pushing for gender equality in workplaces and universities. The passage of Title IX in 1972 forbade sex discrimination in any educational program that received federal financial assistance. The amendment had a dramatic affect on leveling the playing field in girl's athletics.

What are two major events of the women's movement in the 1960's? ›

1960s
  • 1961 - Introduction of the contraceptive pill. ...
  • 1964 - Married Women's Property Act revision. ...
  • 1967 - Abortion Act. ...
  • 1968 - Ford machinists' strike, Dagenham. ...
  • 1968 - Barbara Castle becomes First Secretary of State. ...
  • 1969 - Bernadette Devlin becomes youngest MP. ...
  • 1970 - National WLM conference, Oxford.

What were the accomplishments of the women's rights movement? ›

Divorce laws were liberalized; employers were barred from firing pregnant women; and women's studies programs were created in colleges and universities. Record numbers of women ran for—and started winning—political office.

What did the 1964 Civil Rights Act not do quizlet? ›

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited any discriminatory voter registration practices, while the voting Rights Act of 1965 required the federal government to put an end to poll taxes and literacy tests in states. What did the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 accomplish?

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit quizlet? ›

prohibit discrimination in education, employment, public accommodations, and the receipt of federal funds on the basis of race, color, gender, nation origin, and religion. a system of racial segregation practiced virtually everywhere in the US. System was enforced through law, ironclad social custom, and violence.

What were the two main goals of the civil rights movement quizlet? ›

What were the goals of the civil rights movement? School integration, desegregation of public facilities, voting rights. In general, the goal was to gain true freedom and equality.

What are 3 causes of the civil rights movement? ›

The civil rights movement is a legacy of more than 400 years of American history in which slavery, racism, white supremacy, and discrimination were central to the social, economic, and political development of the United States.

What was the cause and effect of the civil rights movement? ›

the Cause was the Congress had to show how many supporters the Civil Rights Act had. Effects- It convinced America that there were thousands of people who wanted fair treatment towards blacks and integration. This led to the Civil Rights Bill being passed and the Equal Rights Commission being set up.

What are the consequences of the civil rights movement? ›

Consequences of the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Act (1964) outlawed segregation in schools, public places and jobs. The Voting Rights Act (1965) made it illegal to do anything that might limit the number of people able to vote.

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do quizlet? ›

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 accomplish? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation, outlawed bias in federally funded programs, and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Which of the following is true about the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Which of the following is true of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? It outlawed segregation in public facilities on the basis of race, sex, or national origin.

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1965 do? ›

This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

Which provisions did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include quizlet? ›

What were the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate discrimination and enforce the provisions of the bill.

What was the main purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1968? ›

An expansion of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, popularly known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental, or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and sex.

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit quizlet? ›

prohibit discrimination in education, employment, public accommodations, and the receipt of federal funds on the basis of race, color, gender, nation origin, and religion. a system of racial segregation practiced virtually everywhere in the US. System was enforced through law, ironclad social custom, and violence.

Which of the following were crucial to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 quizlet? ›

What were the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? outlawed discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex, created the EEOC to investigate discrimination, prohibited segregation in public accommodations and encouraged integration in education.

What happened after the Civil Rights Act of 1964? ›

Legacy of the Civil Rights Act

It also paved the way for two major follow-up laws: the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of property.

Is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 constitutional? ›

The civil rights movement deeply affected American society. Among its most important achievements were two major civil rights laws passed by Congress. These laws ensured constitutional rights for African Americans and other minorities.

What ended the civil rights movement? ›

What is the difference between the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965? ›

The Civil Rights Act did little to address the rampant discrimination in voting rights, however, so civil rights organizations pushed hard for what became the Voting Rights Act. Signed into law on Aug. 6, 1965, the Voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other barriers to Black voting.

How did the civil rights movement change the world? ›

One of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement, the Civil Rights Act led to greater social and economic mobility for African-Americans across the nation and banned racial discrimination, providing greater access to resources for women, religious minorities, African-Americans and low-income families.

Why are civil rights important? ›

Civil rights are an essential component of democracy. They're guarantees of equal social opportunities and protection under the law, regardless of race, religion, or other characteristics. Examples are the rights to vote, to a fair trial, to government services, and to a public education.

How did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affect employees quizlet? ›

Prohibits discrimination in all areas of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or gender. This also created the EEOC. This covers employers or unions with15 or more employees.

How was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 different from earlier attempts quizlet? ›

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 differed from earlier attempts to address minority rights by focusing on ending discrimination in the workplace. The Congressional group of senators that attempted to block civil rights reforms in the 1950s and early 1960s were primarily southern Democrats.

Why was the Civil Rights Act important quizlet? ›

Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so important? Because it outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This advanced equality and nondiscrimination of public accommodation + the right to equal employment opportunity.

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