HR 7152

Engrossed copy of H.R. 7152 open to pages showing amendments adding "sex" to the 1964 Civil Rights bill, introduced June 20, 1963

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

As the House of Representatives considered amendments to the Civil Rights bill, opponents used a variety of tactics to defeat the measure. Representative Howard Smith of Virginia sponsored a "killer" amendment to the bill adding the word "sex" to the list of categories such as race and religion which employers would be banned from considering when hiring. But Smith’s tactic misfired. The bill cleared the House and Senate with "sex" still included, and later, when a conference committee suggested removing the word, Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan and Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine insisted that it remain. The inclusion of "sex" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act became the basis for government efforts to promote gender equality in the workforce.