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"This is no simple reform, it really is a revolution. Sex and race, because they are easy, visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior, and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which the system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or earned. We are really talking about humanism."(Gloria Steinem) Women have fought for equal rights continuously in the United States. They are equal citizens and should have all the same rights as men; however, even today, their rights are still limited. This is a situation that we need to work together in and make a difference for all women in this country! Women movements have worked hard since the early 1800's and are still working together today. They have fought and gained for women's suffrage, women's right to vote, now they work for greater equality in the home, family and work place. To understand the history and struggle for women's rights we must first look at the early social roles of women.
Historically women always held lower social calluses then men. They have been viewed intellectually inferior to men and are often mentioned as a source of evil and temptation. Early Roman law, Christian theology, Greek mythology, and Hinduism have all stated women as evil, full of unhappiness, and forever inferior to men. Differently, the middle Ages allowed women personal and intellectual freedom but not for long. In 1976 there where even marketplace records that women where sold in London for three and a half guineas! (Harris,71,21) The Victorian beliefs stated that women should participate in music, painting, and literature, and where born to serve men.
The belief that women are more emotional and less decisive, intelligent, and creative than men has been proved incorrect by test performed by sociologists and anthropologists. They believe that this is because of negative stereotypes that cultures have taught girls to behave according to. Actually, these tests have shown the women have a greater tolerance for pain, live longer, and have less of a chance of becoming ill.
Women traditionally have been expected to stay at home to take care of the children and depend on men to bring home the income. Girls learned from their mother's examples in cooking, cleaning, and childcare and had a limited education. In recent decades the trend has changed; however, women still continue to face barriers to many occupations. These roles were altered when the changes in women's rights began.
Several developments during the late 1700s and into the 1800s began the many changes that would take place. The intellectual atmosphere helped justify women to a full citizenship.
To begin with, the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783, which fought for liberty and equality, raised hopes for some American women who supported the war by sewing, farming, and protesting British goods. In the end, though, it did not increase the rights of women. (Giele,97,387)
The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s moved the poorer class of women out of their homes and into factories. They earned good wages but their husbands controlled all of their earnings. Because of poorly ventilated, crowded rooms and long hours at the factories many states began passing laws in 1910 that limited the working hours and improved the conditions, but many women feel that this was just another way of restricting their rights.
Although this helped the working class of women it hurt the middle class. These women lost all sense of useful involvement in productive work and turned to needlework, craftwork, and religious or charitable activities. They worked on aiding the poor, promoting temperance, and sending missionaries to foreign countries; however, few groups worked on equal right movements.
The Industrial Revolution for women did not last long though. With an abundance of Irish immigrants
There were also many changes in women's education although they were still not considered capable of learning such subjects as math and science. Beginning in 1819, Emma Willard fought for the education of girls. After the Civil War, Boston and Philadelphia were the first cities to give free high school education to girls. Then in 1833 Oberlin College opene
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Names referenced in this report
Emma Willard, Wade, President John F. Kennedy, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Henry Blackwell, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lucy Stone,
Organizations mentioned in this report
National American Women Suffrage Association, National Women’s Political Caucus, National Women’s Organization, Women’s Equity Action League, American Women Suffrage Association, League of Women Voters, National Women’s Strike Coalition, National Women’s Party, NWSA, National World Suffrage Association, AWSA, Oberlin College, Antioch College, House of Representatives, Senate, Supreme Court,
Locations talked about in this report
United States of America, California, London, Boston, New York City,
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Keywords referenced in this term paper
suffrage, Women Suffrage, National American Women Suffrage Association, birth control, social, Equal Rights Amendment, Civil Rights, education, World War Two, limited suffrage, the right, voting rights, Industrial Revolution, political office, United States, equal opportunity, legal, feminism, organizations, New York, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 49 percent, New York City, social welfare, Revolutionary War, New laws, social change, negative stereotypes, childcare, constitutional amendment, Civil War, Lucretia Mott, Emma Willard, human beings, Ally McBeal, Lucy Stone, labor force, middle ages, intellectual freedom, Oberlin College, college education, Title VII, feminist, middle class, male and female, school education, Irish immigrants, Seneca Falls, adopted child, AWSA,