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from the Second Wave to the Tidal Wave

In 1920, the First Wave Feminist Movement, when women fought for the right to vote, ended when Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage.  

Forty year later, 1963 women would once again come together st the Second Wave Feminist Movement to fight for women's lives.

Prompted when Betty Friedan published  “The Feminine Mystique” in concert with President John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women released its report on gender inequality and its recommendations that included paid maternity leave, greater access to education, and help with child care lead to the formation of many local, state, and federal government women's groups as well as many independent feminist organizations.

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The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a 1967 Executive Order extending full affirmative action  rights to women, a 1968 EEOC decision ruling illegal sex-segregated help wanted ads, Title IX and the Women’s Education Equality Act  (1972 and 1974, respectively), Title X (1970, health and family planning), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act  (1974), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978,  the outlawing of marital rape, and the legalization of no fault divorce, a 1975 law requiring the U.S. Military Academies to admit women, and many Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade of 1973. 


As women of that time were coming of age and going off to college they were swept up in the movement. “From the Second Wave to the Tidal Wave" tells the stories of four of those women, Nancy Wanderer who went off to Wellesley where she along with Hillary Rodham (Clinton) vied for class leadership, Joyce Elliott who was an unlikely pioneer in Arkansas’ school integration, Christine Lesiak who spent her years at UCLA in campus protests, and filmmaker Pam Maus, filmmaker who, as a seven-year-old learned about social injustice watching the violent integration of Little Rock Central High School of television.


As women successfully vied for seats at the table, closed the wage gap and increased their numbers in political leadership, the second wave movement began to slow down by the early 1980s. Some academics have attempted to make the case for a quieter third and fourth wave feminist movement, but it wasn’t until 2016 when the first woman nominee of major political party lost her bid for the presidency that the feminist movement re-ignited; this time in the  full force of a Tidal Wave.

Nancy Wanderer, Maine

Joyce Elliott, Arkansas

Christine Lesiak, Nebraska

Pam Maus, Producer, Writer, Camera, Editor

Thank you for telling this story: our story, the story of our mothers, our daughters.

EmergeMaine class of 2018

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