Meet the lady who fought Jersey City’s ban on women in bars – and won

Meet the lady who fought Jersey City's ban on women in bars — and won

Shaw was 30 years earlier when she elected to an at-large council seat in 1973 as part of a reform-minded ticket that included then-Mayor Paul Jordan. A Democratic committeewoman and metropolis worker, she had campaigned on searching for a second Bookmobile and worthwhile federal grants for parks and recreation.

She shortly asserted herself on the nine-member council, refusing that November to assist a metropolis Human Rights Price till gender was added to guidelines of factors it might take care of. She fought for the council presidency, nevertheless one among her colleagues acknowledged he wanted a council chief with a “business-like angle,” i.e., an individual.

Shortly after she took office, Shaw acknowledged, a woman approached her with a dilemma: she had utilized to be a bartender at a Downtown bar nevertheless the proprietor wouldn’t lease her, citing Jersey Metropolis’s ban. Shaw couldn’t think about such a regulation existed until Tommy Smith, then the clerk, knowledgeable her, yep, it was nonetheless on the books.

“I acknowledged, correctly we have got to take it off, there’s little query about it,” Shaw acknowledged. “I was truly emphatic about it. I acknowledged, that’s fully ridiculous.”

With the assistance of her “women’s political caucus,” Shaw went to work erasing the regulation from the Jersey Metropolis code. To launch the effort, she and a gaggle of various women “liberated” the Majestic Tavern, all through the street from Metropolis Hall.

“It was such a dive,” she acknowledged. “I walked in with this workforce of women … and the boys have been merely, like, I’d see the seems to be like on their faces, they’ve been merely astounded. There had certainly not been women in that precise bar the least bit.”

On Feb. 19, 1974, the council met to vote on the issue. The lone opponent was Thomas Maresca, the Heights councilman. Maresca acknowledged he nervous about tavern householders having in order so as to add new loos, then acknowledged voters should have a say, then urged rewriting the city code to allow women at bars … offered that accompanied by males. In the end, the council voted Eight-1 to repeal the ban.

Shaw acknowledged she invited council members out for a drink after the meeting. Maresca declined.

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