Women’s Rights

10 October 2016

Women were not allowed to vote. They usually could not get higher education. Often, they could not get jobs, and when they did, they get paid less than men for for the same work. They could not own property, in many countries, including England. In some places, if they had money and got married, the money became the property of their husbands. The Women’s Right’s Movement started because they were sick of the unfairness. Women’s rights are the rights and elements and entitlement claimed for a woman and girls of many societies.

Women(and some men) have asserted women’s equality and the rights of women since ancient times, but without much success until the 19th and 20th century Women’s Rights Movement. In the 19th Century, during the Colonial era and the first decades of the Republic, there were always women who strove to secure equal rights for themselves. Some assumed the business interests of a husband after his death. A few women challenged male domination of religious life, though they met with criticism from their communities or banishment, as in the case of Anne Hutchinson.

Women were also active in the fight against the Crown and organized boycotts of British goods. During the struggle for independence, prominent females such as Abigail Adams wrote and spoke privately about the need for male leaders to rectify the inferior position of women, promising rebellion if their words were not heeded. But only later, over the course of the nineteenth century, did women’s demands for equal rights change from a series of isolated incidents to an organized movement.

Enormous changes swept through the United States in the nineteenth century, altering the lives of women at all levels of society. The country moved away from an home-based economy and became increasingly industrialized. Beginning in the 1820s, many white single women found work in the mills that opened across the Northeast, where they often lived in boarding houses owned by their employers. The new century saw changes in the lives of female slaves as well, when on 1 January 1808 the importation of slaves into the United States was outlawed.

In response, slave owners placed increased pressure on enslaved women to produce children. They also subjected these women to sexual advances against which they had little defense. The changing nature of women’s lives helped create the circumstances that allowed them to begin to act politically, on their own behalf and for others. “Mill girls” often worked long hours under dangerous conditions. By the 1830s female workers were organizing protests in an attempt to improve their work environment and wages.

Middle-class women’s role in the home, on the other hand, led them to develop a sense of themselves as members of a cohesive group. While coded as domestic these campaigns gave women a public voice and significant social power. Women’s work in the abolitionist movement played a particularly important role in the creation of an organized women’s rights movement. Early organizers for women’s rights began by working with black women who had escaped slavery and wanted to learn how to read and write.

The women who first spoke in public about slavery and female abuse were viciously attacked, and those who organized schools in the early 1800s with harassment. Black women, such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Jacobs, fought for the rights of both their race and their sex, while also fighting the often attitudes of sole liberators. In 1840 the organizers of the World Antislavery Convention in London refused to seat female delegates, including the American activist Lucretia Mott.

Before leaving England, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whose husband was a delegate at the convention, decided to launch a campaign for woman’s rights on their return to the United States. On 19 and 20 July 1848 Mott and Stanton’s plan reached as they staged the country’s first formal women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls. Based on the Declaration of Independence, the document proclaimed that men and women were “created equal,” and that women should therefore have legal and social with men, including the right to vote.

The declaration was greeted with a storm of criticism in newspapers and from religious leaders. By 1850, however, activists had organized similar gatherings in Ohio and Massachusetts and established an annual Woman’s Rights Convention. The campaign for dress reform became closely associated with the women’s rights movement, as advocates such as Amelia Bloomer argued that the tight clothing women wore was unhealthy and restrictive, such as Bloomers.

Many early women’s rights advocates also became involved in Spiritualism, a belief system based on direct communication with God and the dead, which offered women a greater voice in their religious life than did the male hierarchies of the Christian churches. In the 20th Century, The reemergence of the women’s movement in the United States in the late 1960s is commonly referred to as the modern women’s rights movement, the feminist movement, or the women’s liberation movement.

It is also known as second wave feminism, which serves to distinguish it from the period a century earlier when women in the United States first organized around demands for full citizenship. That earlier campaign, known as first wave, culminated with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which legally (if not actually) barred discrimination in voting on the basis of sex. Feminists in the 1960s, like their predecessors, sought to alter their unequal political, social, and economic status.

Although still vital in a variety of forms, the modern women’s movement reached a high point in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The early 1960s saw two important events that perhaps signaled the beginning of the second wave. In December 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt and comprised of female political, business, and education leaders, the commission was asked to report on the progress women had made in six areas, including federal civil service employment and labor legislation.

Its final report, although certainly not viewed as radical by modern feminists, did call for greater equality in the workplace while at the same time trying to protect women. Some policy successes of the modern women’s rights movement have included the 1963 Equal Pay Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, laws prohibiting discrimination in educational and credit opportunities, and Supreme Court decisions expanding the civil liberties of women.

In 1972 Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification; despite approval from more than half the states it failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds needed by 1982. In 1973, the Supreme Court affirmed a women’s right to privacy in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Subsequent gains included the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Victories in state legislatures included laws establishing greater protection for battered omen and victims of violent crime, reform of rape statutes, and laws providing for more marital property following divorce, made necessary by the negative impact of no-fault divorce laws on women. At the same time, many states placed restrictions on women’s constitutional right to obtain abortions and often interpreted no-fault divorce laws in ways that harmed women’s economic status. The women’s movement remained a forum for debate, with issues, strategies, and tactics subject to controversy.

While such diversity may have confused a public looking for simple definitions who wanted to know, “What do women want? “. The women’s movement had room for everyone who agreed that sexism has no place in a society dedicated to social justice. The most important contribution of the women’s movement of the late twentieth century was to improve women’s lives by reducing obstacles to the full expression of their desires and choices. Feminists contributed to the wider society as well, because their activism was an important element in the continuing struggle for a more equitable and just society for all.

On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Starting in 1910, some states in the West began to extend the vote to women for the first time in almost 20 years. (Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the end of the 19th century. ) Still, the more established Southern and Eastern states resisted. In 1916, NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveiled what she called a “Winning Plan” to get the vote at last: a blitz campaign that mobilized state and local suffrage organizations all over the country, with special focus on those recalcitrant regions.

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