EXCERPT: 'When Everything Changed,' by Gail Collins

When women ventured into the outside world, they often felt tentative, unsure of their welcome. And it was no wonder. The Executive Flight to Chicago was not the only service that barred them at the gate. The world was full of men's clubs, men's gyms and men's lounges where the business of business was conducted. Even places that were theoretically open to the public reserved the right to discriminate. The public golf course in Westport, Connecticut, would not allow women to play during prime weekend hours under the theory that men deserved the best spots, because they had to work during the week. Heinemann's Restaurant in Milwaukee banned women from the lunch counter because "men needed faster service than women because they have important business to do." Many upscale bars refused to serve women, particularly if they were alone, under the theory that they must be prostitutes.

Early in the 1960's, a freelance writer from New York, traveling to Boston to interview a psychologist for a book she was working on, stopped by the Ritz Hotel and ordered a drink at the bar. "We do not serve women at the Ritz Bar," the bartender said, and whisked her off to a little lounge off the women's restroom where he brought her the whiskey sour. It was a moment Betty Friedan recalled with humiliation decades later, long after she helped spark a movement that made sure nobody ever got consigned to that lounge again.

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