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Meet the lady who fought Jersey City's ban on women in bars -- and won
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By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal


Attention, women of Jersey City: if you like sidling up to a bar for a beer or serving up a dry martini from behind the bar yourself, you have Lois Shaw to thank.

Shaw was a councilwoman whose political career lasted for just one term but who played an integral role in Jersey City bar history. In 1974, she led the charge to reverse a 40-year-old law that banned women from drinking at bars and working as bartenders.

Yes, in 1974, two years after Gloria Steinem founded Ms. Magazine and 11 years after Betty Friedan’s "The Feminine Mystique" sparked the modern women’s movement, Jersey City law said women couldn’t sit at their local pub’s bar and grab a brewski.

“The men that passed that law, years ago ... they were the most corrupt politicians we’ve ever had,” Shaw, 75, said during a recent interview. “Most of them went to jail, you know. But when it came to women they were very puritanical.”

Her niece, Amy DeGise, 33, said Shaw's push to open up bars to women has been a part of the family's lore for decades.

"She always said, I know it sounded like I wanted to drink but I just wanted to get treated the same way," DeGise said.

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Posted on: 5/1 7:27
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