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Opinion: On Women's Day, a reality check
Hillary Clinton speaks during the presentation ceremony of the International Women of Courage Awards March 8, 2012.
March 8th, 2012
06:16 PM ET

Opinion: On Women's Day, a reality check

Editor's note: Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and co-chairs the Council on Contemporary Families. Her most recent book is "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s."

By Stephanie Coontz, Special to CNN

(CNN) – When Philip Morris introduced Virginia Slims cigarettes for women back in 1968, their marketing slogan was "You've Come a Long Way, Baby." But by 1968 women had not really come very far. "Help wanted" ads were still segregated by sex, the average employed female college graduate earned less than the average male high school graduate, fewer than 3% of all attorneys were female, most states had "head and master" laws giving the husband the final say in the home, and no state counted marital rape as a crime.

Since then women actually have come a very long way. But this year on International Women's Day, March 8, women are facing new challenges from social conservatives, who seem to believe that women have come too far. Who would have thought that women's hard-won access to family planning would suddenly become a hot button issue in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries?

Read Stephanie Coontz's full column

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Filed under: Politics • What we think • Women
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    A Strange Stirring: 'The Feminine Mystique' and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, is one of the featured books on The Book Report this week (http://www.bookreportradio.com/) It sounds like a definite must read.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. bl4ck0utsUn

    Yes! A woman's work is never done!

    March 11, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. AMERICA 1st

    If a woman can do the same job as a man, im all for it. Ill stay at home and let her scrub the toilet when she gets home from work.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |