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Women's Rights Handbook

A Message to the People of California

The Women's Rights Handbook has been prepared by the Office of the Attorney General as a summary of women's rights in important areas such as employment, economic independence, education, housing, health care, domestic relations, violent crimes and child care. It also provides other valuable information related to those rights. There is, for example, a section on crimes of violence against women and children, and where victims can get help.

In recent years, largely as a result of hard work by countless individuals and organizations concerned with women's rights, courts and legislatures have taken many steps to strengthen guarantees of equal opportunity for women in our society. By the mid-1970s, the need was apparent for a concise reference work in this rapidly changing field.

Accordingly, the first Women's Rights Handbook was published by the Attorney General's Office in 1976-77. The booklet was so well received that it was expanded by supplement in 1980, and reissued in revised form in 1983, 1987, and 1990. The 1998 edition of the Women's Rights Handbook, like its predecessors, contains the most current information on new laws and services that benefit women.

While women will find this book of special interest, much of the information concerns laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age and disability, as well as sex. Therefore, it will be useful to all persons concerned about fair and equal treatment in employment, economic transactions, housing, business establishments, and other areas.

Although a number of topics in this handbook are the subject of intense political debate, it is not our purpose here to take a position on them. Rather, in presenting current federal and state laws, we believe this publication, provided as a public service, can be of assistance to all Californians.

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