A lot has changed since John F. Kennedy put Eleanor Roosevelt at the head of the very first Commission on the Status of Women. According to Anthropologist Margaret Mead, who co-edited the final report of that organization, "the climate of opinion is turning against the idea that homemaking is the only form of feminine achievement."
But that was more than 40 years ago; since then, we’ve encountered the sexual revolution, the second wave of feminism, self-made female billionaires—even mannies.
And in a study to be released tomorrow, Kennedy’s niece, Maria Shriver—who worked in conjunction with the Center for American Progress—will release “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.” The 400-page report, according to an essay on the Women’s Media Center by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, “includes a national poll of changing attitudes among women and men, and two dozen essays from experts on various aspects of women’s status, including Billie Jean King, Oprah and others who have lived it.”
Steinem went on to explain the study’s place within the larger discussion of women in the workplace and a “50/50 split.”
“At a minimum, it should end forever the debate about women’s place in the labor force; women are the labor force. It also goes into such deeper places as the racial and economic disparities in women’s health and the invisible and essential jobs done by immigrant women. It also exposes the frequent truth that women are better educated than men yet it doesn’t afford them equal advancement, and critiques the media for portraying women as far more successful than they really are, thus creating the myth that no more progress is needed.”
In an article on TIME magazine’s website, Shriver explained how this study related back to her own family—specifically, her mother Eunice Kennedy.
“I know for sure that if she were alive today, she’d say of this report, ‘It’s about time!’ In articles published after her death, so many people were quoted as saying, ‘If only Eunice had been a man, she could have been President!’ ‘If only.’ My mother learned from that. Her message to women was ‘Don’t let society tame you or contain you." Today she could run for President. And I believe she would win.”