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Women’s Rights Movement

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Layla Morgan-Khalifah

Rebecca Sniezevage

Honors American Studies English

5/16/2017

Women’s Rights Movement

Women’s rights is the fight for the idea that women should have equal rights with men. Over time it’s affected U.S. history in many ways. The movement has taken the form of the women’s suffrage, the right of women to vote, reproductive rights, and the right to work for for equal pay. Women's Rights movements have worked in support of this for about two centuries allowing them to break free of stereotypes and discrimination in order for them to advance in society.

The feminist movement is a series of political campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, all of which fall under the label of feminism and the feminist movement. The woman suffrage movement actually began in 1848, when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York (nwhm.org). The convention was held to discuss the conditions of women’s rights and overtime led to women gaining the right to vote. Overtime this movement has evolved. Originally it was oriented around middle- or upper-class white women and involved suffrage and political equality. Later on the women’s movement further combated social and cultural inequalities including those of women of color and women from other developing nations. Now modern day feminism is continuing to address the financial, social and cultural inequalities and includes greater influence of women in politics and media.

One of the first and most notable achievements of the women's rights movement is them gaining the right for women to vote. In 1848 at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls on July 19 and 20, women came together to discuss the social and civil conditions of their rights. This was a gathering of patriotic women who all shared the idea of improving the new republic. During this gathering Elizabeth Cady Stanton created the “Declaration of Sentiments.” which listed the areas of life where women were treated unfairly (nwhp.org). However, many politicians were unwilling to listen to a group of people who couldn't vote. Therefore, over time women began to realize that in order to change anything, they needed to win the right to vote. For these reasons, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the woman suffrage movement became a mass movement. The suffrage movement was led by two organizations. The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), which was lead by Carrie Chapman Catt and the National Woman’s Party (NWP), under the leadership of Alice Paul (nwhp.org). In 1920, because of the combined efforts of the NAWSA and the NWP, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified; giving women the right to vote. When thinking about the Suffragettes of the early 20th Century, what generally comes to mind is their fight for the right to vote. It is important to remember what the vote meant for women during that time; being able to choose better working conditions, both in environment, hours and pay. These are struggles women face today, with a still-existent pay gap between male and female employees, as well as missing out on promotions due to pregnancy and having their reproductive rights questioned, challenged and denied. Just because women have the right to vote today in the United States, it does not mean that they have achieved gender equality.

In the United States, full-time, year-round working women continue to be paid less than her male counterpart. Women on average are paid only 78 cents for every dollar a male employee is paid (now.org). Although it's still a work in progress the women’s rights movement has succeeded in shortening the pay gap between male and female employees. In the 20th century during world war one many women entered the workforce because many men were

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