Year of Graduation
The modern conservative movement cannot be understood without investigating women’s activism. Women’s political participation sustained the transformation of the Republican party from an emphasis on economic issues to a focus on social issues, especially throughout the mid-late twentieth century. One key point of transformation was in the 1950’s, when Communism posed a very serious danger. Conservatives claimed that in Communist countries, women gave their children to government funded programs and went to work.1 This policy took women away from their assigned roles as wives and mothers. Another important turning point was in the 1960’s, when the United States saw sweeping social movements which challenged conservative values. Second Wave Feminism, in the minds of conservatives, threatened to take mothers away from their children by encouraging women to go to work. The Civil Rights Movement brought what was viewed as social upheaval, and disrupted mainstream white society, inside which many conservatives comfortably lived. In the 1970’s, conservatives saw the Equal Rights Amendment as damaging to motherhood, the family, and children. Roe v. Wade was portrayed as promoting abortion, which took away the opportunity for motherhood. Through these years, women played active roles in how conservatism developed through the shifts. In their action, women created their own agency inside of conservative frameworks.
Phillips, Kaitlyn C., "Mothers, Morals, and Godly Motivations: Conservative Women’s Activism from Anticommunism to the New Christian Right" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses, Hollins University. 35.