Mind-Boggling! 20 Things Women Couldn’t Do In The 1960s

Even though the state of women’s rights is far from perfect, we have definitely come a long way. You won’t believe that women weren’t allowed to do these things, that we now take for granted, back in the 1960s!

Get A Credit Card

Woman weren’t allowed to receive, or even sign up for, credit cards back in the day. Until 1974, banks and credit card companies could refuse to offer plans to anyone who was unmarried. The companies could also refuse to give a line of credit to a female simply because of her gender.

Why This Changed

Women today are successful business leaders and they do not need to have a husband in order to receive a great line of credit. The thought that women “need” to be married in order to get a credit card shows that there was a huge gender inequality in pay during the 1960s.

Serve On A Jury


Serving on a jury is one of those things that we all typically just have to do. No one likes to do it, but it’s kind of a given that at some point in time you’ll have to serve. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that women could serve on a jury in all fifty states.

Today’s Juries

Women are more than wanted when it comes to serving on a jury these days. However, women are frequently said to be more “compassionate” on a jury, which isn’t always the truth. Lawyers should realize that women can be just as impartial when it comes to trials as men are.

Go On Birth Control Pills


Birth control is a touchy subject, even today. Many officials believe that the use of birth control, particularly IUDs, is not something that should be allowed because of religious beliefs. However, in 1965, birth control was made available and legal for use — to married women.

Birth Control Today

Birth control is something that is under fire today, because it should be given out with health care. Women should not have to pay out-of-pocket for their reproductive needs. This includes birth control, condoms, and even emergency birth control, which includes Plan B.

Go To An Ivy League School


Ivy League schools have always been a bit of a reach for most people, including both women and men. However, in the 1960s, women just weren’t allowed in. Harvard University didn’t accept women into the school until 1977. Cornell was the only university that allowed women in beginning in 1870.

Why This Is Important Today


Women deserve to attend the schooling and education of their choice. With the inclusion of women into various fields of study, many careers are now not just being run by men, but by women. Ivy League acceptance proved that women are just as smart, if not smarter, than men.

Have Any Equality In The Workplace


Being a woman in the workplace can frequently be incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes borders on suggestive harassment. However, the United States’ court system didn’t recognize inappropriate workplace harassment as an offense up until 1977.

The Workplace Today

Even though inappropriate harassment is now an offense in the workplace, women still are vulnerable to its effects. Many employers will not validate a women’s accusation and will most always defend the man who has been accused. Also, “mansplaining” in the office is very common, meaning that men condescendingly tell women how to act while at work.

Be Pregnant And Have A Job


Women who are employed and pregnant should not be forced to quit their job. Also, women should not be judged in an interview based on whether or not they will need to go on maternity leave. However, up until 1978, women could be laid off for being pregnant.

Today’s Problem With Pregnancy In The Workplace


Women should ALWAYS have a paid maternity leave, and maternity leave should be at least six months. Maternity leave allows the mother to safely begin to raise her child, whether or not she is missing months of work.

You Couldn’t Refuse To Do The Deed With Your Hubby


A loving partner knows when both married parties are interested in doing the deed with their spouse. However, this wasn’t always the case back then. Until the 1970s, a “forcible violation” within a marriage was not considered a form of violence.

Today’s Marriages


One of the worst things that can happen in a marriage, is also all too common. Domestic abuse is something that is regularly common in marriages, and it also almost always kept a secret. Women who are in domestic abuse cases need more help than you would think getting out of their toxic relationship.

You Couldn’t Practice Law

Since the beginning of the United States as a country, a career in law has always been something that is well received. However, until 1971 women could be, and frequently were, denied when they attempted to study as lawyers. Women were only legally allowed and offered the right to become lawyers in 1971.

Today’s Lawyers


The practice of law is still a man’s game, however, it is slowly being taken over by women. The Supreme Court has a few female justices, and women are climbing the ladder to become equally seated as men. We hope that women can gain just as much respect in the courtroom as their male counterparts.

You Couldn’t Leave Your Man

Getting a divorce can be hard, but it is a right that everyone should be able to have. However, divorce in the 1960s could only be obtained if you had proven that your husband or wife had committed a serious fault, such as adultery. The No Fault divorce act law allows men and women to claim divorce at the same time.


It’s sad to say, but divorce rates are climbing all the time. As tragic as divorce can be, it is a right that every man and woman should have. No one should have to stay in an unhappy relationship if they are truly not in love with the other person or if they have fallen in love with someone else.

Working In The Military Wasn’t An Option

Until recently, females have not really been wanted in the military or in any of the armed forces. In fact, women were not allowed to attend any United States military academies up until 1976, and they were not part of the 1960s draft. Not much has changed today.

Women Serving Our Military, Today


Women in the military today are still not the majority and in fact this is actually quite a problem. In 2015, 16 percent of the graduating class of West Point were women and up until 2013, women could not actively be in combat roles. However, the real problem women face in the military is the alarming rate of unlawful violation. Sad AND scary.

You Also Couldn’t Shack Up With Your Bae


Living with your bae or your boyfriend is a very new ideal, and wasn’t something that was really condoned back in the ’60s. During the 1960s, it was a misdemeanor to live with your boyfriend, due to the religious idea of staying pure before you were married.

Living With Your Boyfriend Today

Surprisingly, it was still illegal to live with your boyfriend in four states up until 2013. In fact, several people were actually charged with a misdemeanor for living with their perspective baes in 2011. We’re glad that in most places you can live with whoever your boo thing is.

Paid Maternity Leave Wasn’t Necessary

When you go on maternity leave, it’s not as if you are giving up your job or that you are incapable of doing the job. You are simply carrying around another life. However, during the 1960s, the United States’ did not require employers to pay women for maternity leave.

Maternity Leave, Today

This is a hot-button issue for women to this day because it is still not something women can have. The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t require employers to provide paid maternity leave to its workers.

Women Couldn’t Become A Supreme Court Justice


Because women could not even practice law until the 1970s, they were also not allowed to become one of the most powerful judges in the country. There wasn’t a specific law that prohibited it, but Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981.

Today’s Supreme Court

Even though women have more bridges to climb to reach equality, the Supreme Court today actually has three women out of nine Supreme Court judges. Even though this ratio is low, there is still a lot of progress being made out there in the world of law.

No Moon Landing For Women Either


The moon landing was one of the coolest events to occur in the 1960s, however this amazing event was not and would not have happened with a woman. NASA actually told one woman in 1962, “We have no existing program concerning women astronauts nor do we contemplate any such plan.”

NASA, Today

Even though NASA is not routinely funded, there have been some instrumental women who have made serious efforts in helping out our space program. The first woman to do so was Sally Ride, who was admitted to NASA as the first female astronaut in 1978. Ride, Sally Ride!

Rejection Based On Gender Was Possible

Being rejected by your gender is just downright wrong, because whomever is the best candidate for the job should get the job. In 1964, it was perfectly legal to discriminate against women on the idea that gender was an indication of whether someone would be good or bad at a job.

Today’s Workplace


We hate to say it, but this still happens. Even though the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, women who are trying to land a job have a less likely chance of getting the job if a male is also going for the same position. Also, women are paid 70 cents to a male’s dollar.

The Boston Marathon Wouldn’t Recognize You

Sports events were one of the key places that gender inequality was the most glaring. The Boston Marathon was actually not opened to women until 1972. This was because many small-minded people believed that women would be more of a health risk, rather than actually posing a challenge to their competitors.

Women in Athletics Today

Women today can actually be very competitive athletically, but there is still an increase in inequity between genders. Women athletes are not usually lauded for their amazing talent, but usually announcers will focus on what they are wearing or how their bodies look.

You Would Never Be Able To Have A Legal Abortion

Abortion is a very rough topic, because some people believe that it should not be an option at all. However, in the 1960s not only was it dangerous, but it was also illegal. The Roe v. Wade case protected a woman’s right to abortion in the year of 1973.

Abortion Today

Abortion clinics should not be stigmatized and the people who need those services should not have such a difficult time accessing them. Women should be allowed to have abortions as needed, because it is their body and their right. Also, abortions are a medical procedure and should be covered by health care insurance.

Marry Another Woman


Even though this list is about females, this law really affected the entire LGBTQ community. Women who were in love with other women could not legally get married in every state in the United States until the year of 2015. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage, back in 2004.

Same-Sex Marriage

The legalization of gay marriage was one of the best things that have ever been approved by the United States Supreme Court. The US legalized gay marriage in all fifty states on June 26, 2015 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. This was a completely amazing moment and is still helping the LGBTQ community.

Compete As A Boxer In The Olympics

Olympics boxing is another sporting event that should allow women from all countries to compete. However, it wasn’t until the 2012 London Olympics where Britain’s Nicola Adams was the first woman to compete in this event. This marked a huge moment for not only women, but sports overall.

Breaking Barriers

Gender inequality during the 2016 Rio Olympics was at an unbelievable all-time high. Announcers were saying that the United States’ gymnastics team “looked like they were in the middle of the mall,” and they also gave major props to female athletes’ husbands, rather than to the athletes themselves.

Get Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, or Plan B, is something that is completely natural to ladies everywhere these days. However, way back in the 1960s that definitely wasn’t the case. The contraception wasn’t approved by the FDA until 1998, and you couldn’t find it in drug stores until 2013.

Plan B Today

Even though it is in stores today, Plan B is incredibly overpriced and it is actually quite difficult to find. Not only do you need to ask a pharmacist for it, which can be incredibly embarrassing, but there is also an age requirement. Plan B should be available to everyone.