1964-1980: Gender Revolution

Student Rebellions, Women's Liberation, and Affirmative Action

In a pair of essays below, Catherine Gallagher treats the dramatic changes made by two generations of women at Berkeley in the decade from 1964 to 1974. The first describes the undergraduate rebellions that radically and permanently altered student culture. The institutional segregation of the sexes ended, and the double standard for sexual behavior lost its sanction. The concomitant upsurge in off-campus student activism and fierce struggle for unrestricted political expression on campus heightened awareness of the many kinds of discrimination women still faced, igniting the women’s liberation movement.

In the seventies, women’s place in the university’s academic hierarchy was also publicly challenged and altered. While PhD students campaigned for women’s studies courses and programs, efforts by women faculty led to a thorough reform of hiring and promotions on campus. The fight for affirmative action in women's employment opened the road to faculty gender parity and equality of opportunity for all university employees.

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