10.11.2013

Friday, October 11, 1963: 'Report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women'

President Kennedy was handed an 86-page report Friday crammed with statistics to argue that women still are not getting an equal break with men, despite laws saying they should.
     The 13 women and 11 men -- including five cabinet officers -- who worked 22 months as the Commission on the Status of Women said women especially are not getting a fair break with men in matters and jobs and equal pay.
     They attributed this to foot-dragging by federal and state governments and failure of women to plug hard enough for full equality -- and to vote.
     The president said the report represents a legacy of the late Eleanor Roosevelt, the commission's first chairman. This was the 79th anniversary of Mrs. Roosevelt's birth.
     Kennedy said something must be done to make it easier for working women to "use their powers and develop their talent" while maintaining a home and protecting the welfare of their children.
     The unanimous report contained 24 major recommendations and many minor ones, most of which were not new. Included was a recommendation that federal tax deductions for child-care expenses of working mothers be increased.
     Telling the women they are not blameless in the matter, the commission said they outnumber men in the U.S. by about 3,750,000. Yet their failure to vote makes them a political minority.
     -- The Associated Press
     -- Photo of Kennedy and Mrs. Roosevelt from February 12, 1962, during president's meeting with commission members (from JFK Library)
* Full text of report (from Hathi Trust Digital Library): @
* Summary from Encyclopedia Britannica: @
* "The President's Commission on the Status of Women" (from the book "On Account of Sex: The Politics of Women's Issues, 1945-1968," Cynthia Harrison, 1988): @
* Audio of Kennedy's remarks at presentation of final report (from JFK Library): @
* Kennedy-Roosevelt audio (April 18, 1962): @
* Related materials from JFK Library: @
* Executive order establishing the commission (December 14, 1961; from American Presidency Project): @
* "Equality for Women Urged in US Report" (Milwaukee Journal, October 11): @
* "Women to Work for Equal Break" (Milwaukee Sentinel, October 12 -- on World of Women page): @ 
* "Whatever Happened to Women's Rights" (The Atlantic magazine, March 1964): @ 

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