Womens Rights Essay

3330 words - 14 pages

God Created Men AND WOMEN!
Erica McNamara
HIS 204
Lilia Anand
September 16, 2013

What would the world be if not for the powerful women who have helped to guide the path of women’s rights in the nation? Would women enjoy the same freedoms or would women still be prisoners to the home? Thankfully women don’t need to spend much time contemplating this as we did have strong, powerful women that fought for women’s rights for centuries. Women encouraged other women to fight for equality, fight for freedom, fight for the opportunity to be a strong independent woman in a nation of strong independent men. This paper will discuss several significant events that shaped the future ...view middle of the document...

In 1942 an event occurred that would diffuse the frail image of women. World War II began with the attack on Pearl Harbor; women would once again be called upon in a time of need. This time, women served not only as nurses; but as uniformed members of the military, taking their place alongside men overseas. Lastly, in 1963, Betty Friedan wrote a book entitled “The Feminine Mystique” that would inspire and encourage women once again to step out of their comfort zones and demand a more active and important role in society. The role of women throughout history has been shaped by the women themselves, the women who fought for equality and proved their worth in American society and the world. The suffrage movement is where it all began.
In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was written claiming equality for all men. In hindsight maybe it should have read; for all mankind. During the 19th century many women had dreams of one day being considered equal to men in society. Women that were given the same rights and privileges as men were given. The fight for suffrage was the communicated desire of women for a profoundly different position in society that women’s customary one. Woman suffrage portrayed to the nation a distinctive message of women’s longing for independence (DuBois, 1987). The American Equal Rights Association (AERA) was created in an effort to bring equality to all mankind, with a goal of combining black suffrage and woman suffrage into the all-encompassing demand for united suffrage. Several women believed that equality for all could be fought for together, giving a voice to the citizen rather than the color or sex. After several years it became apparent that battling the two simultaneously was not working. The focus had shifted from “women” to “black women” and women were excluded from the 15th amendment; thus a rift developed between the women involved. The AERA and universal suffrage was not working. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were two women with a vision of equality in their hearts. These two women would become the face of the “new” suffrage movement (Harper, 1906). After the failure of the AERA the women shifted focus to a more radical group giving specific attention to women’s suffrage, the National Woman Suffrage Association or NWSA, thus giving a new identity to their cause. (DuBois, 1987). The NWSA claimed that women should be afforded the right to vote based upon their sex and not simply as individuals. The two believed that the feminine element should be enfranchised in government. They argued that the feminine element would “elevate national life and “exalt purity, virtue, morality, and true religion” essentially giving the nation some heart. According to DuBois “the NWSA distinguished itself among suffrage organizations by its emphasis on national, as opposed to state, action to enfranchise women” (1987). The women would continue the fight for women’s education; their right to divorce, to own...

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