Imagine it is 1969 and we're in a thriving American city. Let's choose Detroit. The '60s were good to the Motor City, and the future would have looked bright as new chrome. Now, imagine stopping a working woman on Detroit's Woodward Avenue, perhaps a young bank clerk, and asking if she would cast her mind forward, decades into the future. Not to picture the flying cars and space-themed restaurants that always seem to pop up in visions of the future, but to think about the role of women at work, in business, in government, in life. What do you think she would have said?

1969 was an intense, rousing time for women in America. Betty Friedan had published The Feminine Mystique a few years earlier, and had founded the National Organization for Women in 1966. And Gloria Steinem had just published the essay in New York Magazine that clearly separated the modern Women's Movement from other oppressed groups, "After Black Power: Women's Liberation," in which she called for meaningful work, equal pay, and the goal for all women to be freed from the role of only "servicing men and their children."

Fast forward 40 years: no matter how optimistic the guesses of our "woman-on-a-Detroit-street," I bet they wouldn't have outstripped what's actually happened.


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