Women’s rights movement was formed in the nineteenth century and is based on the idea of equal rights, entitlements, and opportunities for women in every aspect.
Today many women live in an atmosphere of religious freedom, have a voice in the government and are free of predetermined norms for all women.
But these beliefs about what kind of life must a woman live were once considered unacceptable and outlandish by many.
Over the past decades, dramatic social and legal changes have been accomplished towards women’s rights. Nevertheless, today many younger people can hardly believe that life was ever otherwise because for them that’s how life has always been.
In fact, women themselves made these changes in religion, family life, in government, in employment, in education and many other fields. They have acted very deliberately and courageously to create a better world starting from their right to vote, and let’s note that they have succeeded hugely.
If you want to learn some interesting facts about women’s rights movement in history, just keep scrolling.
Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.Susan B. Anthony
Scrolling Through the Timeline of the History of Women’s Rights Movement
Like many astonishing stories, the history of the Women’s rights movement started with a small group of brave people who questioned why women’s lives were being unfairly compressed.
The beginning of the Women’s Rights Movement marks July 13, 1848.
On that significant day a young housewife and mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was invited to tea with her friends. While discussing the situation of women at that period, Stanton highlighted her dissatisfaction with the limitations of women under America’s new democracy.
Her friends agreed with her unanimously. Even though this was surely not the first group of women who had such a conversation, it was the first time to plan and realize a large-scale program.
Within two days of that historic day, this small group had selected a date for their Women’s Rights Convention to discuss the social, civil and religious rights of woman. The meeting took place at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls on July 19 and 20, 1848. Today we are living the legacy of the massive changes that these women set in motion.
Needed Changes that Elizabeth Stanton Listed
In her ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ Elizabeth Stanton listed all the things to show that women were treated unequally and unjustly:
- She fought for women’s right to vote as they were not allowed to vote
- Women had to obey to laws as they had no voice
- Married women were legally ignored in the eyes of the law and had no property rights
- Husbands had power over their wives so that they even could imprison or beat them
- Divorce and child custody laws privileged men, leaving no rights to women
- The majority of the occupations were closed to women. Furthermore, when women had a job they were paid only a little part of what men earned
- Women didn’t have a right to have professions such as medicine or law
- Thre was no opportunity for women to receive an education as no college or university would accept women students
- Women were devoid of their self-confidence and self-respect so that they would be totally dependent on men
The convention received great support. The only resolution that did not pass was women’s right to vote. Gradually, the women’s rights movement started to expand and some outstanding woman as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth traveled to many places lecturing and organizing campaigns.
Outstanding Names in the History of Women’s Rights Movement
There are some names that should stand beside the names of such famous people as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Lucy Stone who were pioneer theoreticians of the 19th-century women’s rights movement.
- The first woman to hold a judicial position, Esther Morris. She led the first successful campaign for woman suffrage
- The daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriot Stanton Blatch and Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone’s daughter. They continued their mothers’ legacy through history passing it to the next generation.
- Leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the early the 20th century Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt. By the way, they brought the campaign to its final success.
- Alice Paul, founder, and leader of the National Woman’s Party
The Biggest Achievement of Women’s Rights Movement: Women Were Allowed to Vote
Probably the greatest day in the women’s rights movement is August 26, 1920, when millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time declaring that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
When Stanton and Anthony created the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) it directed its efforts toward changing federal law. The suffragists’ campaign managed to prove that women were just as patriotic and deserving of citizenship as men, and on that special day, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified.
Eventually, winning the right to vote emerged as the central issue, since the vote would provide the means to achieve the other reforms. Significantly, the campaign for woman suffrage met such tough opposition that it took over 72 years for women and their male supporters to be successful in women’s right to vote.
Women’s Rights Movement Breaking Down the Barriers
Overall, it’s an impressing and dramatic tale of remarkable women who faced unbelievable obstacles to win that most basic civil right – the right to vote.
Different elements of reviving the Women’s Rights Movement worked together on a wide range of issues. Small groups of women in many communities worked on large-scale projects like establishing women’s newspapers and bookstores, prohibiting employment discrimination on the sex basis.
Also, these women created shelters to care for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The insertion of Title IX in the Education Codes of 1972 was a huge and phenomenal event as well, as it granted equal access to education programs.
Just imagine that the number of women lawyers, doctors, architects and other professionals was being doubled again and again as the limitations concerning women’s enrollment in graduate schools were prescribed.
What Has Women’s Rights Movement Achieved and What is Left Undone
The Women’s Rights Movement brought measurable changes in society as well.
In 1972, about 26% of men and women replied they won’t vote for a woman for president. Meanwhile, in 1996, that statement had decreased to just over 5% for women and to 8% for men.
By the way, during that period of history, the average age of women to marry has moved from twenty to twenty-four.
Perhaps the most remarkable and sensational impact of the women’s rights movement in the history has been women’s financial liberation.
Can you realize how unfair it was when women could not even apply to pages of announced jobs? Some organizations as The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission addressed the issue for many times.
But the requirement was ignored until The National Organization for Women argued the issue to the Supreme Court making it possible for a woman today to hold any position that she is qualified.
Thus, today we see women in literally any sphere which would have been almost unbelievable back in the history. By this token, many of these changes were realized due to the legislation and court cases pushed by this kind of women’s organizations.
After 150 years since that turning-point of Women’s Rights Convention, women have made clear progress and achievements in the areas described above. Today, women not only have won the right to vote but are also being elected to public offices of government.
These outstanding women have successfully reformed thousands of local and state laws that limited the legal status and social roles of women. Today, we are living the legacy of the rights and equality that before us seven generations of women have contributed their best to achieve. And even though we’ve fulfilled so much, yet a lot still remains to be accomplished.
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