1967 November 8

President Johnson Ends Barriers to Promoting Women in Military


President Lyndon Johnson signed a law on this day that ended barriers to the promotion of women in the Armed Forces.

Johnson’s position on women’s issues was very mixed, however. Although he felt passionately about racial justice and the problems of the elderly, he was insensitive to discrimination against women. When he issued Executive Order 11246 on affirmative action programs in employment on September 24, 1965, he did not include women, even though they were included in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Under pressure from the resurgent women’s movement, he issued a revised Executive Order (E.O. 11375) on October 13, 1975, that did include women. The law ending barriers to women in the military on this day was a part of his reconsideration of women’s issues.

LBJ: “This bill will give the career women of our Armed Forces no special privileges. But it does relieve them from some very special handicaps. The bill does not create any female generals or female admirals – but it does make that possible.”

Read President Johnson’s complete comments on signing the law: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=28533

Learn more: Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel Greenlee, A Few Good Women: America’s Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010)

And more about women in the military: http://www.military.com/topics/women-in-the-military

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