1964-1980: Gender Revolution

Women's Liberation and Affirmative Action

The period of Berkeley history called “the six-years’ war” (1964-70) made radical, permanent changes in student culture, and it had an outsized impact on women. It ended the segregation and unequal institutional treatment of the sexes as well as the informal double standard applied to sexual behavior. 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. PhD students campaigned for women’s studies courses and programs, often permanently changing curricula. A decade of efforts by women faculty led to a thorough reform of hiring and promotions on campus, opening the road to faculty gender parity and equality of opportunity for all university employees.

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