The Women’s Rights movement is among the oldest social movements currently active today. Their tactics have evolved over the years to better suit their ever-changing objectives. The Women’s Rights movement has attained success through their strong empowered members, persistence, and patience.
As with most social movements, the Women’s Rights movement began with ordinary individuals that had a revolutionary idea. The most famous of those individuals is Susan B. Anthony, a teacher from Adams, Massachusetts. Growing up a Quaker, Anthony identified with the Temperance movement. The movement promoted the rather unpopular idea of teetotalism, or the complete abstinence of alcohol. After being denied from the Sons of Temperance community, Anthony created the Daughters of Temperance.
The Daughters of Temperance began advocating this idea of teetotalism alongside their brother counterparts. Their reasons stemmed from the domestic abuse that was caused by alcoholism in families. In a dissimilar fashion, the Sons of Temperance supported this idea for, solely, religious reasons. The Daughters supported the sobriety movement in an attempt to prevent the re-occurrences of domestic violence and assist battered women. They used the movement as a community outreach program.
In 1851, Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton at a Daughters of Temperance meeting. The two began a life-long bond as they set out on the search for equality. Anthony and Stanton strived to change the laws and the social construct of women. The oppression of women drove their passions. Eventually, Anthony and Stanton became the known leaders of the Women’s Rights movement.
Within a decade, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton began the powerhouse that would be known as the National Women’s Suffrage association. They began the movement in NYC and focused on campaigning congress for the right to vote. Men were allowed to associate with the Women’s Suffrage association, but not many did. To associate with these suffrages would be a social stigma for any high standing man of society.
The members of the association kept pressure on the government to pass an amendment that demanded equality for women. Stanton and Anthony’s argued that they were being taxed without valid representation. If they were to pay taxes like normal citizens, they should have rights like their male citizen counterparts. Notice they used the same argument used in the American Revolution, no taxation without representation! The age-old struggle for egalitarianism continued.
From picketing to posters, the women of the late 1800’s did everything in their power to gain the right to vote. Their cries did not go unheard; the Women’s Rights movement introduced the idea of the 19th amendment in 1878. This amendment would grant all female American citizens the right to vote. Although it was introduced to congress in 1878, it was not ratified until 1920.
The Women’s Rights movement is still active today although not with the same ambitions as in the 1800’s. There has been vast progression, but we still find ourselves in a patriarchal society. A recent feat experienced by the Movement is discrimination in the workplace. The term “glass ceiling” was brought to life in the 1980’s and is still being used today. The “glass ceiling” is used to describe the prevention of upward mobility in their profession solely based on their gender. Furthermore, women have earned the right to work alongside men, but many had experience unequal compensation.
A recent victory for the Women’s Rights movement is an act that the Obama administration passed in 2009, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. In the case of Ledbetter vs. Goodyear tire, the court ruled that a worker couldn’t be paid less than their counterparts based on age, religion, national origin, race, and sex. The Act allows individuals who face pay discrimination to seek rectification under federal anti-discrimination laws. The Obama Administration was the first to sign off on this bill to show his support for equal rights in our country.