Sociologist Alice S. Rossi, the 74th president of the American Sociological Association and one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW), has died at age 87. The New York Times has a story highlighting some of her contributions. A brief snippet:

In her scholarship, Professor Rossi explored the status of women in work, family and sexual life. An early public advocate of abortion rights, she was often quoted by the national news media on an array of women’s issues. Her writings are widely credited with helping build the platform on which the women’s movement of the 1960s and afterward was erected.

Professor Rossi was best known for her studies of people’s lives — those of women in particular — as they move from youth to age.

Of her 1964 article, “Equality Between the Sexes: An Immodest Proposal,” she said:

My theme was simple enough. For the first time in known history, I wrote, motherhood had become a full-time occupation for adult women, and motherhood was not enough. For the psychological and physical health of mother and child, for the sake of the trembling family unit, and for the progress of society, equality between men and women was essential and inevitable.

A statement of hers (from The Feminist Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir, p. 407) that is frequently quoted:

The single most impressive fact about the attempt by American women to obtain the right to vote is how long it took.

Her 1983 ASA presidential address, “Gender and Parenthood,” is available here.

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