Prejudice and fear are weak barriers against passions, which inherent in our nature and demanding only judicious training to form the ornament, and supply the best joys of our existence, are maddened into violence, varied with as pernicious indulgence.” (Doc #2) The efforts made by the feminist movement of the Antebellum-era set forth a precedent for the expansion of women’s rights in the decades following and up until present day. The patriarchal society that had controlled the nation since its birth was finally met with opposition from those who had been oppressed for so long. Through the dismissal of restrictive gender roles and expectations, the voices of women were finally allowed to influence decision making, and ultimately create changes that would promote equal opportunity for all
The women’s rights movement being an extensive movement helped women to occupy better jobs and higher positions “Increased access to leadership positions is an important achievement because – in terms of gender – the field is more level now: some women will be allies, some are not, but no one is excluded only for being a woman”. Today, women can choose to occupy the jobs that were once titled only for men and they have an equal employment opportunity “Because of workplace rights, women enjoy freedom to work in almost any position they choose. They join the armed forces, work as cab drivers, own businesses and become executives in large corporations” Women can now become ministers, juries, senates, and even the president “1975 — In Taylor v. Louisiana, the court denies states the right to exclude women from juries….1981 — Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed as the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice… 1997 — Madeleine Albright is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State. She is the first woman in this position.”
The Women’s Movement was a symbolic movement in achieving political and civil equality. It assisted women lifestyles in the United States, granting them equal opportunities as men. Therefore, the Equal Rights Amendment guaranteed equal rights with men and the Equal Pay Act guaranteed equal pay. But these opportunities rarely helped women since they were prohibited and discriminated from universities and communal school, young girls have to be taught at home by mothers due to the segregation from males and females. In the 1960s, organizations were predominantly constructed for women since they were driven away from society of men and can’t attend schools and colleges. However, in these organizations they’ve made social, economic and political
America gained its independence in 1776 with the expectation that every American should have liberty and equality. However, American women did not have the right to vote until 1920, which was almost more than 140 years after the United States was established. Women could do little to protect themselves and promote their careers due to being treated unequally and inferior to men. During the 19th and the early 20th century, women were working hard and fighting for gender equality, so that more and more women could live a better life with basic civil rights in their hometowns. In reality, women’s equality was challenged by traditional conventions in the fields of biological difference in sexes, religion and gender roles, and different perspectives towards these conventions of different people made women’s civil rights controversial.
Nancy A. Hewitt said in “From Seneca Falls to Suffrage? Reimagining a ‘Master’ Narrative of U.S. Women’s History” that, “In recent years, historical studies have revealed the multifaceted movements that constituted woman 's rights campaigns in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Yet one narrative continues to dominate understandings of the period” (15). This is a perfect example of an alternative histories, which is when important events are so underreported that we are left with one side of history, that doesn’t allow most to know the full history of the women’s rights
Though it was frowned for a woman to act, think, write, and speak like men, that didn’t stop them. In the book, Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin, we learned that women were prohibited to exercise anything out of field and house work, especially politics, this book demonstrates that over the decades, women had altered that perception.
Fortunately, due to the tireless work of decades of activist’s, laws have changed, amendments added to the constitution, and rights granted to those who were previously unjustly denied. One of these victories for women’s rights occurred when women were granted the right
(Book, 521) Before 1910, those who wanted women to move out of the home into social activities, higher education, and paid labor called themselves “the woman movement”. (Book 533) Educators believed that learning should focus on real life problems and that children should learn to use their intelligence to control their environment. Excluded from holding political office, women joined clubs that showed more interest in improving society than in reforming government. (Book 533)
The 1960s brought along important and beneficial changes to America, especially changes regarding gender roles and race relations. Even after World War II and the increasing tensions between the United States and Russia and Vietnam, America’s culture was changing faster than before. During the 1960s, gender roles changed for the better and race relations improved significantly. The role of women in the 1960s changed after centuries of little to no freedom. However, women gained freedom during World War II and a sense of equality between the genders grew throughout the late 1900s.
The organizers of the movement were not just angry about the prohibitions then existing against women speaking in public or being active in political organizations, there was a separation of domestic and nondomestic. The identification of women with the home and family could exist outside of civil society. Eleanor Flexner described it as married women suffered civil death, in which they have no rights to property and legal entity or existence away from their husbands (Nicholson, 1986). The women’s rights movement was gathering interest of men, one of them being Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom spoke on their behalf at the 1855 National Women’s Rights Convention in Boston. Emerson spoke of women as the educator of humanity, the care of her children, and civilizer of mankind.
This all started to change with the suffrage movement in that women started to enter the professional workforce, obtain higher levels of education, and became more involved in political life resulting in a shift of gender roles as women were entering long held male domains (McCammon et al., 2001, p. 53). Haferkamp and Smelser (1992) discuss further changes regarding social equality and how in the 1970’s the social movements of the 1960’s shifted towards women’s rights. This is when women focused on equal opportunities both in private and public capacities (Haferkamp & Smelser, 1992, p.
The women’s rights movement focused on gender equality. Liberal and conservative women disagreed on many issues that the second wave of feminism, the basis of the women’s rights movement, brought to light. Two documents reveal the differences in the opinions of the opposing sides during the women’s rights movement. In an “Interview with Phyllis Schlafly” by the Washington Star, published on January 18, 1976, Ms. Schlafly opposed both the ERA and the Women’s Rights movement. Comparatively, the “Statement of Purpose” by the National Organization for Women, published on October 29, 1966, stated that NOW stood for Women’s Rights and equality.
“Women are coaxed, flattered, courted, but they are not respected by many men as they out to be; neither do they respect themselves as they should” (Horace Greeley ”Women’s Rights”). After the Revolutionary War women’s rights did not see a dramatic change. Some states allowed women to vote while others did not. With the adoption of the Bill of Rights, these amendments only attain to white males only. It wasn’t until the mid-1800 that Elizabeth Stanton began to lead for women right movements. In 1848 “three hundred men and women attend the convention in the Wesleyan Methodist chapel; of those one hundred signed the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments” (Alison Parker, The Seneca Falls Convention).
Throughout American society, Women have been downgraded in the face of men. In america’s past, women were seen purely as housewives, and had no place in a higher position. Today women have many more rights, putting them on much more equal terms as men. With this, women have shown their capabilities and their worth to society, leading its progression, and proving that the arguments of the anti-suffrage movement were initially the opposite of what women could really do. The arguments that women’s place is only at home and that men have the sole job of running government and society has been proven wrong by women in contemporary society.
Women have always played an important role in the history of the United States. Throughout different time periods, their roles in society and in government have changed in many ways. Whether women were helping the war manufacturing effort, striving for suffrage, helping soldiers during the war, or just raising their children; their roles have been influential to the social structure of the United States today. Their desire for equal rights, their willingness to help American soldiers, and the absence of men in the workplace are responsible for the changing role of women.