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From the Second Sex to the Joint Venture: An Overview of Women's Rights and Family Law in the United States during the Twentieth Century

Herma Hill Kay
California Law Review
Vol. 88, No. 6, Symposium of the Law in the Twentieth Century (Dec., 2000), pp. 2017-2093
DOI: 10.2307/3481213
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3481213
Page Count: 77
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From the Second Sex to the Joint Venture: An Overview of Women's Rights and Family Law in the United States during the Twentieth Century
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Abstract

From the beginning of colonial history, the family has defined U.S. women's identity and life circumstances, while the market has defined men's role and opportunities. Over the past two centuries women's struggle for political independence and socio-economic equality has been intertwined with family law reform, and more recently with the emerging law of employment discrimination. While the most dramatic changes in family law occurred in the latter half of the twentieth century, many of these changes were foreshadowed by events during the nineteenth century. As we look forward to the twenty-first century, much of the intellectual challenge for those concerned about women's rights will necessarily focus on securing, interpreting, and building on the advances won during the twentieth century.

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