The women”s struggle for equal rights has existed throughout American history. For thousands of years women had been denied of their rights and always been thought of as having a second-class role in society. Women were powerless and considered the property of men.
Women were only expected to fulfill certain roles in life. They have been given the role of being the weak, submissive, and a house-wife that was meant to stay home and care for the children. She was not expected to work outside the home. The women of the mid 1800″s realized that it was time for a change and so began the women”s right movement.
It was the mid 1800″s and the women started to take a step. Women began fighting for equal opportunities just as men. On July 1848, three hundred people came together at Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss and resolve the inequities that had place women as second-class. At this meeting, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the women who organized the convention and was also known as “Mother of the Suffrage Movement,” presented a speech. She listed the areas in which women should have equality, and surprised everyone by including the right to vote. She had used a piece from the Declaration of Independence as her model “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” This meeting was the start of a fight that would drag on for years.
Women thought that the first step to gaining equality was being able to vote. The fight for the right to vote began in 1840. This was not an easy goal to accomplish. Along with other rights they wanted, they had to fight their way through state legislatures and congressional obstacles. Men argued that women were too sensitive and emotional and therefore would not be able to reach fair political decisions. Almost a century later, August 1920, the women”s right to vote was finally passed. It was the Nineteenth Amendment, “The right of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In the 1980 presidential election, for the first time women outnumbered the male voters. The gaining of the women”s right to vote gave women hope that someday men and women would be created equal.
Although the women were allowed to vote, it little improved the way society portrayed women. Women still faced difficulties in experiencing equal rights. But the fact is, the women”s rights movement has made some steps into eliminating inequality.
Women were denied of higher education. The highest education a woman was allowed to complete was the primarily level. Due to this lack of higher education women were to only be illegible for jobs such as secretaries and teachers. Women had a hard time finding higher professional jobs because they lacked the proper education. Parents raised their daughters towards being a house-wife, so that a higher education would be pointless. This has been somewhat of an improvement. Before their education was limited to only domestic skills. This act was very effective in schools. It was not until 1974, when Congress passed the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which stated that no one will be denied of education due to gender, race, color, or nationality. It was able to change the way some courses only to particular sexes, in other words, putting an end to stereotyping. For example, if a girl chooses to take an auto shop course and a boy wanted to take a home economics course, they would have every right to do so.
The opportunity for higher education for women gave them the chance to enter the work force. A woman could be anything whom she wants to be. All women are capable of being a housewife and caring for the children at the same time having a job. During the 1950″s, the largest increase in work force participation was among married women compared to 1920, the typical working woman was single. Studies have found that women that are employed play a higher role in her marriage as she normally would have being unemployed.
Women that were employed full-time had higher roles in marriage than a woman being part-time employed. From 1955 to 1990 the percentage of employed women has increased twelve percent. Though women were able to find jobs they still face difficulties concerning that area. Women”s work advancement was still limited compared to men. If a man and woman happen to have the same job the man was always paid more. World War I helped create new job opportunities for women, and many began to replace jobs that were once held by men.
Although the women in the work force have increased, they face another problem in the work force. Discrimination. February 6, 1977, discrimination complaints in the work force have risen to 130,000. Men often humored the working women. They did not think that women were “cut out” to handle the job as well as men do. Over the years discrimination has lessen, but it still does exist.
The women”s rights movement was a very historical event that dramatically changed the government. During the 18th and 19th centuries, women were outnumbered not by population, but instead by the power of men. The growing number of participants of the movement and the continuation through time eventually advanced women”s rights on both the state level and federal level. Women also proposed many Amendments into the Constitution. Eventually with changes of women in society, women began to become involved in the government. Women were being elected to serve in government offices.
It seems that the early Americans preferred their women as non-professional and non-intellectual, but as homemakers. Women were expected to follow an expected role, but eventually decided to change that. The women”s right movement was created in order to gain their equality. When this movement arose, the women were being accused of being selfish for wanting the same opportunities of men.
Over the years the rights movement has slowly been a success. Slowly, women”s roles in society have advanced. Society now accepts the rights of women and give them more opportunities to play a better role in society. Women of today hold positons that were once only for men. For example, in the past only men were to serve in high offices, but now so are women. Although women have achieve alot of the goals in the movement, some feel that “Women can not be equal outside of the home until men are equal inside the home.”
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