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□ Federal Office of Workman's Compensation Programs becomes Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. □ Housing and Community Development Act outlaws sex bias in housing. □ Washington state court grants lesbian mother living with lover custody of her children. □ Pennsylvania outlaws sex bias in insurance. □ Passport Office allows use of "maiden" name. □ "Woman Alive!" special documentary series produced for and about women, is telecast over Public Broadcasting Stations. □ Ella Grasso is elected Governor of Connecticut, first woman governor elected in her own right. □ Mary Ann Krupsak elected lieutenant governor of New York State. □ Elaine Noble, elected to Massachusetts state legislature, is first self-declared lesbian elected to state office. □ Abortion is legalized in France. □ Eleven women are ordained as Episcopal priests (not recognized by church heirarchy). □ National Association of Women Business Owners is formed. □ McGraw-Hill, Inc., publishes nonsexist guidelines for its nonfiction authors. □ Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in credit on basis of sex or marital status. □ Mary Louise Smith becomes chair of Republican National Committee. □ Françoise Giroud is appointed French Secretary of State for the Condition of Women. □ Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller are frank about their mastectomies in order to help other women. □ Laura Cross, 11, wins National Soap Box Derby. □ National Association of Broadcasters rejects some of National Airlines' proposed "I'm going to fly you like you'v never been flown before" commercials as sexist. □ Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers adopt a 10-point antisexism resolution. □ National Congress of Neighborhood Women forms to upgrade status of working-class animals. □ National Women's Music Festival is held at the University of Illinois. □ National Women's Football League is formed. □ All-America Girls' Basketball Conference is formed. □ Kathryn Kirschbaum is denied a BankAmericard unless she gets her husband's signature, even though she earns $15,000 a year as mayor of Davenport, Iowa. □ Congress passes the Women's Educational Equity Act, providing nonsexist training. □ Anne Sexton, winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1967, commits suicide. □ WomenSports magazine is founded, published by Billie Jean King. □ Quest, a feminist theoretical quarterly, is started. □ Olivia Records is formed. First record is by Meg Christian and Chris Williamson. □ Kathy Kozachenko, an openly gay woman, wins election to city council from a predominantly student ward in Ann Arbor, Michigan. □ First president of a major university is Lorene Rogers, appointed president of the University of Texas (Austin). □ Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr., is killed in her husband's church by a black gunman who believes that black ministers exploit their congregations. Politicians and organizers would surely measure the success of the '70s—and the danger of the '80s—by the force of the right-wing backlash against all of these majority changes in hopes and values. Representatives of a social order that depends mostly on sex, race, and class privilege for its power, and is often justified by the mythic and economic force of patriarchal religions, are feeling endangered. They have paid this feminism the honor of opposing it very seriously indeed. As a writer, however, I find myself focusing on change as reflected in language and words: not just such vital but obvious shifts as girls to women, or Congressmen to Congresspeople, but the newly coined words and phrases that capture transformations of perception, and sometimes of reality. At the beginning of the '70s, for instance, we were still discussing population control and worrying about the population explosion. Those were negative phrases that implied outside, authoritarian decisions on the one hand, and endless impersonal breeding as the only alternative. Though feminists were expected to come down on the side of population control, one of its underlying assumptions was that women themselves could not possibly be given the power to achieve it. Liberal men who were the majority of the population experts assumed that women gained security or were fulfilled only through motherhood, and so would choose to bear too many babies. (Unless, of course, they could achieve a higher degree of literacy and education, thus becoming more rational, more like men.) Many conservative or very religious males, a group that often seemed intent on increasing the numbers of the faithful, treated women as potentially sex-obsessed creatures who would use contraception to behave sinfully, thus weakening the patriarchal family and civilization itself/ By the end of the '70s, however, feminism had transformed the terms of discussion by introducing reproductive freedom as a phrase and as a basic human right. This umbrella term included safe contraception and abortion, freedom from forced sterilization, and health care during pregnancy and birth. In other words, reproductive freedom states the right of the individual to decide to have or not to have a child. Though obviously more important to women, this right also protects men; especially those from less powerful groups who have sometimes been subjected to coerced sterilization. It also allowed new trust and coalitions between white and Third World women in this country and elsewhere, who had rightly suspected that the power implied by population control would be directed at some groups more than others. To the surprise of the liberal population experts, the choice of reproductive freedom has been exercised carefully and eagerly by women wherever it has been even marginally allowed. By the late '70s, population journals were full of mystified articles about the declining rate of population growth in many areas of the world, even where the tragic rate of illiteracy among women was still increasing. A 1979 United Nations' women's conference of East and West Europe
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