1967 October 13

LBJ, Under Pressure, Adds Women to Affirmative Action Order

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson had issued Executive Order 11246, establishing affirmative action in employment for all federal agencies and contractors on September 24, 1965. He deliberately did not include women in the order, however, despite the fact that sex discrimination was specifically prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (signed on July 2, 1964). Although he was deeply committed to the civil rights movement, LBJ had no similar commitment to the women’s rights movement that emerged in the mid-1960s. Leaders of the reinvigorated women’s rights movement protested Johnson’s omission of women from his first E.O., and on this day, Johnson issued Executive Order 11375 to include women in affirmative action.

The pressure came from the revived feminist movement in the 1960s. See the publication of Betty Friedan’s influential book, The Feminine Mystique (and the critical review by the New York Times on April 7, 1963), and the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) on June 30, 1966.

Read Executive Order 11375: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=60553

Read about LBJ and women: Cynthia Harrison, On Account of Sex: The Politics of Women’s Issues, 1945–1968 (1988)

Learn more about the changing status of women in the 1950s and early 1960s: Stephanie Coontz, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s (2011)

Read more about LBJ’s problems with women’s rights: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama (2012)

Learn more about affirmative action from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: http://www.civilrights.org/resources/civilrights101/affirmaction.html

Learn more at a timeline on affirmative action: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/affirmative1.html

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