University of Florida
Concern about gender issues has been a major theme in U. S. cultural, political, and economic life since the explosion into the public realm of several simultaneously interrelated and divergent "movements" of the 1960s: the women's liberation movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and, by the end of that decade, the gay rights movement.
From the 1960s to present, the women's liberation and gay rights movements have generated considerable awareness of the inequities women, gays, and lesbians experience when they seek to participate fully in the political, economic, and cultural life of the United States. Awareness led to sometimes-passionate social action and some hardwon changes. Not surprisingly, however, because gender (like race) resonates against deeply held beliefs and fundamental values, gender issues continue to present significant challenges to our nation's willingness to offer genuinely equal opportunities to all its citizens.
Also not surprisingly, the gender challenges played out in the broader society are reflected in the microcosm of colleges and universities throughout the country. The "glass ceiling" and gender-based salary inequities are just two issues for which parallel scenarios have been played out in corporate, government, and university and college settings.