The PILL turns 50 and it is BIG news! So big that TIME magazine is doing a cover story on it this month and for the first time has published a longer piece on the subject as an e-book exclusively at Amazon’s Kindle Store. TIME’s executive editor, who has done extensive research on the history of birth control, was featured on the TODAY show this week too. Having lived through the introduction of the PILL during the unique, turbulent, and ever-changing times of my Boomer Generation, I am eager to join the celebration. The Pill’s effect on us was astronomical. In the age of pill box hats, Camelot and the Kennedys, it was more than just a revolution in birth control; the PILL gave women control over their reproductive system.
Despite its impact on the lives of millions of women across the globe, a woman seeking to empower women didn’t create it. Although choice has been the basis for most, if not all of our freedoms in this country, that result was an unexpected occurrence. In fact the reproductive research leading to the Pill was conducted by male scientists and physicians. In the article it states that the Pill was actually created to help married women get pregnant. However, the Pill’s ability to temporarily stop ovulation simply morphed into our power to control pregnancy.
We became the masters of our own bodies, who didn't have to follow the dictates of men or religion about when and if we wanted children and how many children we wanted. The Pill empowered us to rush down the hall of graduate schools instead of rushing down the aisle to get married for fear of being an ‘old maid.’ Moreover this little pill planted the seeds of the Women's Movement. We began to think about breaking barriers in government, business, education and politics.
In essence the Pill helped us become what I refer to as the “man-made woman.” Many man-made women were coming of age when the pill was introduced, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinham, Diane Sawyer and Maxine Waters just to name a few. The men who created the Pill directly contributed to the drive and career success found in these women and more.
In my new book My Husband Made a Man Outta Me and I Resent It! I write, “The Pill changed everything. Not only did it free women to choose to be pregnant, but it also prepared the way for women to seek other freedoms as well. The ability to plan a family led to opportunities to work outside the home, to pursue a career, and to be more proactive than reactive in their lives.” Today, half of all the workers in the United States are women.
Read more: The Pill Turns 50