United Females Fight
- Pages: 13
- Word count: 3017
- Category: Social Inequality
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Through history there have been many acts to change the way people are perceived and treated, but during nineteenth century is when two big movements began, the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement. During the twentieth century, and a little during the nineteenth the women rights movement began, changing the way women were treated and perceived completely. Many don’t acknowledge it, but the women’s rights movement and civil rights movement had the ability to overlap as they were fighting for many of the same rights, and in general equality. In some cases, historians believe that the two could have mixed to create one movement directed towards equal rights for all.
Many historians study and observe events from the civil rights movement, but during the same time period just as much was being accomplished and fought for from the women’s side of things. People often perceive the women’s rights movement as being unimportant and act as if it didn’t accomplish anything: through the women’s suffrage movement, the liberation movement, and the birth control movement, the women’s rights movement was just as important, and accomplished just as much as the civil rights movement happening during the same time period.
To many the idea of women’s rights isn’t of importance, and it is rarely taught in depth in school, which is why so few know about what truly happened. Women were treated as nothing back before they gained rights and the ability to control what they want to do. During the time before women were able to have the ability to control their own lives they were mostly treated as beings used to reproduce and watch the children. They weren’t allowed to have jobs and the few who did were treated badly with little to no pay. Today women now can make their own choices, vote, work in any field they wish, own property, but without the fight and sacrifice as many before us women today would still be living like pets. Many would believe that women are grateful for these changes, but day there are still women who say women should go back to having no rights. It is important to know what truly happened and how much women have gained to have a full perspective on the situation.
Many aren’t aware on how the women’s rights movement formed, or how the idea was even created. Throughout history there were always small acts of rebellion from women and through small cracks women began to talk about the idea of equal rights to men. To many the idea was just a fairytale but to some women they perceived it as the future. What began as small little whispers soon became a reality in Seneca Falls, New York on July 19th through July 20th. Women gathered, including Elizabet Cady Stanton, in Seneca Falls to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition of women’s rights and it was labeled as the first women’s rights convention.
The women of the convention had written up a document called the “Declaration of Sentiments” in which was written up to serve as a public statement of women’s grievances and demands. The document included several resolutions in which they were calling for an end to women’s social, legal, and political inferiority. The quote from Susan B. Anthony, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal”, is a firm statement in which points out that all women wanted were to be equal to the opposite sex that is oppressing them.
Firstly, when our economy is based off voting and selecting leaders the most important right to have is the ability to vote, or called suffrage, but before the women’s rights movement took place women weren’t allowed to vote or be involved with the government at all. Now in place is the nineteenth amendment which grants, “the federal government and each state from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex”. Originally the only few that could vote were white males of rich decent, those who the government deemed important. Even the women who were married to important white men weren’t allowed to vote, all because they were born female.
The world basically deemed women’s opinions and words unimportant and of no importance to the helping of society. This all began to change when women collectively started to form groups in which they were protest and stand in front of government building screaming for change. On the year 1872, while it was still against the law for women to vote, an important choice was made for the betterment of women. On November fifth a group of women, including Susan B. Anthony, collectively gathered to go against the law and vote on election day in New York. They were aware of the consequences they could face, but none of the women gathered cared about what punishment they would face. Following shortly afterwards after being caught voting the women were sentenced to jail and a case was filed against them for breaking the law.
Even though they found themselves punished the women held their heads knowing their rebellion was a small step in the advancement of women’s rights. So many perceive women gaining the right to vote to be unimportant, all because women are seen as inferior. Not only in today’s time, but there were many groups ran by fellow women against women’s suffrage back during he nineteenth and twentieth century. They labeled themselves as anti-suffragists and they claimed that many women truly did not want the right to vote, so those that did should stop fighting for the cause. The anti-suffrage women argued that women didn’t need the right to vote to be considered equal, because they believed women had the right to complete freedom within the home.
Just as the civil rights movement was fighting for the right to vote, women were fighting just as hard too, they were encountering punishments, cruelty, and verbal hatred, but it never caused them to stop. The women’s suffrage movement was so important to the overall equality of women and men, and just the overall freedom for women. The women’s rights movement was able accomplish obtaining the right to vote, which is a major accomplishment of equal importance to those of the civil rights movement obtaining the right to vote as well. The right to vote was just as important to them as it was for those of a different race, making the movements accomplishment just as important as the civil rights movement.
Secondly, the women’s liberation movement was important in allowing women to gain new jobs, access equal pay, address abortion, and overall gain so much more freedom for women. One of the biggest complaints of women participating in the liberation movement was the lack of economic opportunity and education they had. Women were primarily thought to be in charge of the house, watching the children, and making dinner. It was primarily believed that the husbands of the family would have jobs and bring in the only income, which the wife jus stayed home.
Women were stripped of freedoms pertaining to getting a job and making their own source of income, and sadly that’s how men wanted it to be. Men were fearful in letting their wives go out and work, as they would rather save themselves from the backlash from society. Society forced women to believe their only goal in life was to conceive children and raise them, as well as take care of her husband. Some wemon rebelled slightly but to no avail they’d always be put back in their place. This all changed when the liberation movement came around, for women were starting to want economic freedom and obtain education. They had convention, petitions and strikes of all sorts for the cause. On March 20,1970, when Betty Friedan gave her farewell as president of NOW, she called for a nationwide women’s strike on August 26.
This grabbed the attention of many media networks and in return lead to word being spread everywhere concerning the strike. After obtaining the access to the work field women quickly decided on their new mission of the liberation movement, equal pay for equal work. In general, it makes sense for people to be paid the same amount as anyone else if they are completing the same work. Young women and their mothers who rejected the lifestyle of obedient wife had quickly joined the working field, but were only receiving 57 percent of male wages. This became frustrating to women and they quickly began unions in order to change the pay rates.
A lawyer named Ruth Bader Ginsburg decided to take the inequality actions to court in which she won in two separate cases, Reed vs Reed and Frontiero vs Richardson. These two cases both confirmed it was illegal to deny women economic equality to men, or in order words equal pay. Eventually they went on to create the equal pay act which allowed much more of an equivalent pay than 57 percent. Another issue woman dealt with during the liberation movement was the concept of abortion, which is where a woman if she chooses to an terminate her pregnancy. Woman were just beginning to gain rights involving their sexuality when the case of abortion came up and it was extremely frowned upon by many men and Christian women. The debate along abortion brought up two sides, pro-choice and pro-life, and was argued intensely.
The women that were pro-choice argued that abortion was a positive good and that women had the intellectual capacity to determine for themselves whether they wished to terminate their pregnancy. This led to a court case called Roe vs Wade, in which many pro-choice members favored Roe. The Supreme Court ruled towards Roe as they overall agreed with the arguments and opinions of the pro-choice members. In the end the Roe vs Wade case ruled that apart of women’s constitutional right to privacy they could choose to abort their pregnancy in the first trimester. This was a big impact on women who chose to express their sexuality, and for those who fell victim to rape as well.
Even though the Supreme Court ruled that it was legal many states protested and drastically punished those who chose abortion, even in the case of those who had been raped. While in 1976 Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which outlawed the use of Medicaid funding to provide abortions, those against abortions failed to do more. Another accomplishment that the liberation movement brought was the ability to for unhappy women to file for divorce. This benefitted because no longer were women forced to stay in marriages they no longer felt happy in, and were allowed the ability to live a life supported by themselves.
Overall the women’s liberation movement was able to accomplish many issues that women felt needed to be changed for them to reach equality. They were able to not only find themselves in many professional fields, but ere able to gain the pay they deserved as well. Not only did it accomplish economic issues, but it solved issues concerning sexuality and personal freedom. While people tend to ignore these accomplishments in the women’s rights movement hey shouldn’t because of how drastically they changed the lives of women. While the civil rights movement accomplished a lot, the women’s rights movement drastically accomplished just as much through the liberation movement.
Finally, in the effort to gain equality and personal freedom throughthe women’s rights movement one of the most important accomplishments they made was through the birth control movement. The birth control movement was formed during the time of new feminism, which is when many women of the reconstructive era were beginning to express their sexuality more. By having the ability to have safe sex without the fear of falling pregnancy women were able to obtain higher jobs. Without the fret of a women being pregnant companies were more enticed to higher women to male dominate fields that included hard labor. They didn’t have to worry about women having to quit due to maternity leave, and there was no worry in affecting a growing baby.
While many would presume that birth control would be liked by women, it was actually frowned upon by a large number of women. Those whom were particularly happy with the idea of being just a housewife frowned upon those who were practicing their sexual freedom. They fully believed that a women’s job should only be to conceive a child and raise it like a mother should. Those against the birth control movement were extremely submissive to the male gender and very obedient to their husbands. Many women would bash and verbally threat those who took birth control and threatened to get them thrown in jail as a punishment for going against a women’s natural gift of birth.
Women against the birth control movement favored the idea of being inferior and having men take care of them, and they overall caused a lot of strain on the overall idea of new feminism. While there were many against the birth control movement there were just as many women for the cause. A woman named Emma Goldman was very popular in the act of people accepting birth control, she gave multiple speeches about the use of birth control. She spoke constantly about all the benefits and believed that women’s bodies should be freed from the opinions of others. Emma Golding provided thousands of dollars of funding to the movement and was helpful and coming up with new ways of practicing safe sex. She was thrown in jails multiple times by the law for no real reason other than the fact that she was using her freedom of speech.
The birth control movement allowed for women to achieve a freedom with their bodies that they never had before. Not only could they practice safer sex with men but it gave many the courage to appeal to homosexual relationships, which had been majorly unheard of for many. Eventually more women embraced the idea of birth control as women embraced a new lifestyle. Movements like the flapper came around in which women were openly going against the suburban mother lifestyle and expressing themselves freely without the worry of judgement. When more women began the rebellious lifestyle even companies started using them for advertisements, like cigarette brands. Male led companies began to embrace the free going women because it brought in more revenue for certain products, which in return gained more acceptance for the women.
Many wouldn’t connect the dots on the fact that the birth control movement led to these lifestyle changes, but it in fact did. By starting out small and allowing women to take control of their bodies they in return began to openly take control of their lives like they should. The birth control movement led to many other movements around the same idea, which all concerned the idea that women should be able to do with their bodies as they want. The birth control movement also brought along new fields of work for women, such as sex educators and the adult film industry. While the adult film industry was frowned upon and led to women being slut shamed, it still brought along a source of income for those who embraced their bodies. In the end the birth control movement brought along a lot of new freedoms, sexual and personal, that women didn’t originally have.
Many would perceive the birth control movement as just a useless excuse for women to have sex all the time, but its intentions truly were to allow women freedom of their bodies. Without the birth control movement many women wouldn’t have been able to enter male dominated fields, express their sexuality, or gain freedom of their bodies. The birth control movement is another part of the women’s rights movement that many would deem unimportant, but when viewing the overall fact of what it accomplished and how it is still used in current times, it is without a doubt extremely important. Even those of the civil rights movement were able to use the contraceptive, making it important to even those fighting for another cause.
Overall, the women’s rights movement covered many issues that the female gender faced and was able to accomplish all of their goals. Women faced the overall fact that they were perceived to be lower than men, and that they had no control of the lives they lived. Women were forced to be submissive, but after all that the women’s rights movement has accomplished they no longer have to. In todays time women are equal to men, without any question. Women of todays time are able to get any job or occupation they wish, and from the time of the nineteenth century many high job fields are now populated with women.
Women now have the ability to work in the government, and are still breaking records on with what they can accomplish. Women now have complete equal pay in primarily every field, and if there is ever an issue it can easily be taken to court where the woman would win. Without the liberation movement, none of this would have been accomplished. As well as all the women’s liberation movement has accomplished, the women’s suffrage movement has done just as much as well. In every state women have the right to vote without question, as well as have the ability to run for high government jobs. With women being able to vote its much easier for women in government jobs to gain support and continue women’s equality.
Finally, in current times the birth control movement has still proved to be successful. From the original birth control many new forms have been invented and approved, and continues to serve useful purposes other than just safe sex. Even with all the women’s rights movement has clearly accomplished people still like to label it as unimportant and act as if it didn’t accomplish anything, but as proven through the women’s suffrage movement, the women’s liberation movement, and the birth control movement, it has in fact proven to be just as important as well spoken about movements like the civil rights movement.