1983 and women realized they would need to continue

1983 Determinants of Concern
Regarding Women’s Rights in the United States

By: Rebecca Dorn

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Introduction

In
the United States in 1848, a group of people met in Seneca Falls, NYVL1  to discuss women’s lack of civil
rights. From there, the Women’s Rights movement began. This initial movement
granted women the opportunity to choose different careers, education, and
divorce. In 1920 women won the right to vote. After that, many people involved
took a step back and the movement lost momentum. Subcategories of issues arose
surrounding women afterwards, including an attempt at birth control education.
In 1936 the Supreme Court declassified birth control as obscene. As little
strides were being made, a second wave of activism began in the 1960s. This
wave became known as the Women’s Liberation movement or the ‘Feminist’
movement. During this time, thoughts surrounding gender roles became the focus,
and further gains were made, such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The movement
continued into the 1970s, expanding women’s rights by bringing issues to the
surface. By the end of the 1970s activism had begun to fizzle out and the
movement became fragmented. In 1980 Ronald Raegan became president and women
realized they would need to continue advocating if they wanted to uphold the
gains made in the previous decades. It is interesting to note that during the
1980’s many investigative reports by Susan Faludi publically exposed the defeat of
the Equal Rights Amendment; the rise of the antiabortion movement, increased
incidences of on-the-job sexual harassment and discrimination, increasing
disparity between men and women’s income for comparable work, and the sense of
exhaustion by working mothers who were expected to “do it all.” VL2 This study focuses on data from the
year 1983. The United States was 1 year post ERA ratification, 3 years into
Ronald Raegan’s presidency, and in the midst of Susan Faludi’s popular reports
on women’s issues.  

 

Literature surrounding women’s rights
tends to focus on subgroups of concern rather than the overarching issue of
women’s rights in general. A majority of the studied issues of focus include: gender
based violence, female poverty, and work and family roles. In regards to work
and family issues surrounding women, twelfth graders became more accepting of
working mothers and equal roles for women in the workplace between the 1970s
and the 2010s, with most change occurring between the 1970s and the late 1990s.
Adults’ attitudes toward working mothers became more egalitarian between the
1970s and the early 1990s, showed a small ”backlash” in the late 1990s, and
then continued the trend toward increased egalitarianism in the 2000s and 2010sVL3 
3. In regards to poverty, access to public welfare for women with children
became more limited in the 1970s. Grants from Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC) declined steadily from the 1970s and AFDC ended with the
passage of The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
of 1996, also known as “welfare reform” 5. As far as gender based violence,
new forms began to emerge in the United States after 1970 due to the influx of
immigrants. Things like the threat of honor killings was now added to the list
of women issues in regards to gender based violence in the US. Before the
mid-1970s, domestic violence was a private experience, and there was no
collective knowledge 5. As the complexity of domestic violence became clear, it
was now seen as a social issue. With the ever increasing awareness of issues
specific to women throughout history, it seems unusual that there haven’t been
many studies of overall concern for women’s rights. This study aims to change
that by focusing on concern for women’s rights as a whole.

 

Methods

Data was collected from the 1983
General Social Survey. The GSS is a nationally representative sample of U.S.
adults over 18 years old. Table 1 shows the percent of responses to each
variable category. In order to study this topic, the dependent variable chosen
measures respondents’ concern for women’s rights. Responses range on an ordinal
scale from “Very Concerned,” to “Not Concerned at All.” The independent
variables chosen are: total family income of respondent, region of interview,
political views, race, born in the United States, sex, and how often the
respondent and their friends think about women’s rights. Income is measured on
an ordinal scale from less than $1,000 to more than $25,000. Region is measured
nominally with categories being: Mid Atlantic, New England, East North Central,
West North Central, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central,
Mountain, and Pacific. Political Views are measured on a 1-10 scale from 1
being “Left” to 10 being “Right.” Race is measured nominally as White, Black,
or Other.  ‘Born in the US’ is scaled
nominally and measures whether or not a respondent was born in the USA by using
a Yes or No response. Sex is measured nominally as male or female. How often a
respondent and their friends think about women’s rights is ordinally measured.
It is reported on a scale from “very often,” to “almost never.”

 

The hypotheses for each previously
mentioned variable are as follows:

a.       Income:
Respondents with higher income will care less about women’s rights

b.      Region:
Respondents from the East and West South Central part of the US will care less
about women’s rights than other regions.

c.       Political
Views: Respondents who identify closer to the right will care less about
women’s rights than those who identify as more liberal.

d.      Race:
Race will not have an effect on whether or not someone cares about Women’s
rights.

e.       Born
in US: Respondents who were born in the US will care more about women’s rights
than those who weren’t.

f.       Sex:
Female respondents will care more about women’s rights than male respondents.

g.      Thinking
of Women’s Rights: Respondents who report that they and their friends “think of
women’s rights very often or fairly often” will have more concern than
those who report they think “occasionally or almost never.”

 

A crosstab with chi-square test was
used for each independent variable to help determine how they are associated
with caring about women’s rights. A logistic regression was used to support the
hypotheses for each of the independent variables and was also used to shed some
light on which independent variables have impacted feelings towards women’s
rights.

 

Response Percentage to each Variable

Variable

%

Income

Less than $1,000

1.4

$1,000 to $2,999

2.5

$3,000 to $3,999

2.5

$4,000 to $4,999

2.3

$5,000 to $9,999

11.6

$10,000 to $14,999

12.3

$15,000 to $19,999

9.6

$20,000 to $24,999

9.5

$25,000 or more

48.2

Region

NEW ENGLAND

4.7

MIDDLE ATLANTIC

14.9

E. NOR. CENTRAL

18.6

W. NOR. CENTRAL

7.5

SOUTH ATLANTIC

19.1

E. SOU. CENTRAL

6.6

W. SOU. CENTRAL

9.4

MOUNTAIN

5.9

PACIFIC

13.3

Political views

LEFT

2.2

SLIGHTLY LEFT

19.1

MODERATE

56.5

SLGHTLY RIGHT

19.5

RIGHT

2.6

Race

WHITE

81.5

BLACK

13.8

OTHER

4.7

Born
in US

YES

91.6

NO

8.4

Sex

MALE

44

FEMALE

56

Thinks
about Women’s Rights

VERY OFTEN

12.2

FAIRLY OFTEN

18.9

OCCASIONALLY

43.8

ALMOST NEVER

25.1

DV: Concern for
Women’s Rights

VERY CONCERNED

22

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED

48.4

NOT VERY CONCERNED

20.8

NOT CONCERNED AT ALL

8.9

Table 1: Sample data from 1983 GSS

Findings

Crosstabs
tables with Chi-Square tests were used to help determine how each independent
variable is associated with caring about women’s rights. The bivariate analyses
were first run against each independent variable using the dependent variable
measuring “Concern for Women’s Rights.” This analysis showed p<.001 significance in reference to all independent variables except for region. region did not show be significant. however once recoded into grouped sections within the variable atlantic regions showed significant regression model. table considering that females made up a larger portion of gender concern women rights was pretty evenly spread between men and women. similar distribution shown which asked respondents if they were born united states. whether here or most stated either very concerned somewhat concerned. same goes race. white black other identified as being frequency thought about what you expect. people who reported also their friends think fairly often rights. there some interesting outliers. five responded weren with at actually often. political views trends expected. respondent more conservative less. majority sample politically moderate largest amount responses somewhere middle. income had family less than highest whose rest ranging from all. second bivariate analysis run each against dependent reflect focus on no when were: how thinks total little only thinking occasionally almost never. never race lack compared respondents. category previously mentioned. interestingly pieced out focused categories this placed bracket model remained while omit not. based findings analyses particular effect variable. demographic female states us. after immigrant population country quadrupled so it seemed important data collected years later ranges brackets include: measured scale furthest left right. then leaning leaning. recode includes slightly level starts way right new england north central us pacific mountain. originally categorized combined original west east central. combination middle south atlantic. mountain regions. logistic odds demographics individualistic doesn wr estimates shows likelihood one would have by individual information. overall .001 correctly predicted responses. measuring his level. don won much increases factor is an increase foreign having increase. will decreases decrease. hypothesis income- higher care rights-was supported but supported. range first only. difficult given heavy. available races. throughout. likely mentioned report those discussion certain components did. part comfort can taken implication are we imply increased far limitations small size. said here. possible many may answered questions regarding recoding since half white. other. terms identifying male omitted females. size basically cut female. conclusion current literature major domestic violence regards studies found advocates organizations issue difficulty integrating such realities providing service agency recent study coalitions self-identified feminist explicitly indicated services informed values theories politics metoo hashtags across trending topic sexual harassment assault i recommend question again near future. just issues face nonetheless important. hopefully future help answer shedding light makes person references armstrong smith lindsley stephen a. smith. hope alive. frontiers: journal mary frances melinda chateauvert katherine cross jan erickson roberta w. francis bonnie grabenhofer bettina hager amy richards. roundtable. kristin jean m. twenge malissa clark samia k. shaikh angela beiler-may nathan t. carter. toward work roles psychology quarterly eibl marita. girls during history month. retrieved november fleck-henderson ann. movement mainstream: battered shelter evolves. social gorsevski ellen laws rhetoric shaping democracy. public affairs heaven patrick c. l. rights: relationships dominance orientation group identities. sex hua julietta. trafficking human minneapolis: university minnesota press. issitt micah. salem press encyclopedia. lambourne wendy vivianna rodriguez carreon. transitional justice: transformative approach building peace attaining review lee choonib. liberation sixties armed resistance. radicalism nakagawa mana christine min wotipka. worldwide incorporation discourse science textbooks comparative education nussbaum martha development: capabilities approach. cambridge uk: ovseiko pv. chapple ld edmunds s. ziebland. equality through athena swan charter science: exploratory perceptions. health research policy systems news service. reduced restricted reversed secretary-general says observance message citing outdated attitudes entrenched chauvinism. wolf lady frances. make sure bravery victims wasted. zoelle diana g. globalizing failure american. york: st. martin>

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