This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Symbol of American Female Equality: The United States Air Force Pilot




Brown, Jessica

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The social and political climate of the 1960s and 1970s created an environment conducive to debate and reform. In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and by the end of the year, 22 of the 38 required states had approved ratification of the bill. American leadership presumed with the popularity of the bill and quick ratification from the state legislators, the amendment would become law in no time, providing equality to all American women. In 1982 the bill had failed and the constitutional hopes for female equality presumably died with it. However, there was one group of women who continued to prevail in the face of defeat; the female Air Force aviator. This thesis traces the feminists in the Carter and Reagan administrations who crafted legislation and policies for the military that allowed for equality to be obtained by the female Air Force pilot.