Feminist gains

The Century and women

In the late 1980s, Barbara Brown Zikmund lamented the failure of churches prior to the 1960s to understand and help working women, women who had first moved into the workplace during World War II. The indices of the Century during the ’40s and ’50s demonstrate how little attention mainline religion gave to women’s issues during those years. A lone mention of “women in ministry” appeared in 1947, and the topic did not resurface for over a decade. A reference to “women in churches” appeared in 1941 and another in 1948, with multiple references coming in 1949. The entry resurfaced again in 1952-1955, and finally became more or less regular after 1957. Many of these later entries were written by Margaret Frakes, an editor associated with the Century from 1944 to 1969 who modeled a woman’s career in religious journalism when few women were found in the profession.


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