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Women’s Rights Movements Essay


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Women’s Rights Movements

The core aim of women right movement was to make the economic, social and political status of females equal to that of men. Additionally, they pursued developing legislative actions against discrimination based on gender. Women’s movements had strived towards these aims for more than two centuries (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007). In 1903, women began militant political actions with the development of Women Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Britain. This was established to ensure that women acquire full voting rights. Emmeline Pankhurst headed WSPU. The majority of women demonstrated on huge crowds in cities. However, they faced various challenges (Women Rights Movements, 2014). For instance, the demonstrators were jailed and could not have freedom of assembly. Moreover, their organization was declared illegal by Parliament.

Following the outbreak of First World War, the Women’s Social and Political Union decided to support the effort in the war. It mobilized thousands of its members to engage freely in the war (Women Rights Movements, 2014). Furthermore, they supported services that were influential to government in order to overcome the resistance from administration. Fortunately, women right to vote was awarded in 1918. However, only women aged 30 years and above could participate in voting exercise (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007).  Therefore, women continued to fight for their rights until the voting age was reduced to 21 years in 1921.

The first women’s right movements took place in the United States in 1848. The movements were concerned on anti-slavery issues led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton during the Convention of Rights of Women in Seneca Falls, New York. Other women conventions were held under the leadership of activist groups in the country. For instance, in 1850 Lucy Stone led the National Women Rights Convention (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007). Women activists such as Susan B. Anthony enabled the cooperation of both Women’ Rights Movement to formation of Women National Loyal League in 1863. They fought for the amendment of the United States Constitution in order to include the right to vote among American women (Women Rights Movements, 2014). In 1880s and 1890s, the nation witnessed an increase in women volunteerism particular among the middle-class women. Many professionals, advocates and members of women’s organization increased in the movements.

In 1869, fortunately, Wyoming State declared women’s rights to participate in an election. Other states followed shortly in granting women’ voting rights. For instance, in 1893 and 1896, Colorado, Idaho and Utah granted women full suffrage respectively. The movement was promoted via the formation of National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Carries Chapman was the leader of the movement from 1900 (Women Rights Movements, 2014). After 1900, only four states had allowed women to participate in election.

However, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association increased the lobbying activities. By 1913, other states such as California, Washington, Oregon and Kansas had allowed women to engage in electoral processes. In addition, the activities of the movement attracted many influential, wealthy and educated women (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007). Consequently, the movement benefited from huge funding, high professionalism in politics and well-organized demonstrations and processions in various cities in the United States. The proposal written by Susan Anthony in 1978 was signed into a law as the 19th Amendment in 1920. However, after women were granted the right to vote nationally, the number of voters in the presidential elections reduced drastically (Women Rights Movements, 2014). Therefore, majority of the voters were not exercising their democratic rights.

At international level, women rights movements proceeded. The United Nations charter of 1945 recognized the equal rights of women and men. In this regard, it formed the United Nations Commission on Women status. Furthermore, the United Nations General Assembly organized a political convention in 1952 to discuss the rights of women across the globe (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007). Consequently, other conventions on women rights such as United Nations Decades for Women were held in various parts of the world. For instance, the fourth world Conference on the rights of women was held in Beijing, China in 1995 (Women Rights Movements, 2014). The convention provided a platform for action that acted as a foundation to promote women’s rights in 21st century.

In 1960s, the United States of America various militant feminists groups were formed. The groups were agitating for the rights of minority groups and against discriminatory movements (Women Rights Movements, 2014). For instance, Liberation Movement for Women raised awareness in the country on the rise of women discrimination, attitudes and views.  In addition, National Organization for Women developed from political movements to complete feminist movements by 1970 (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007). The movement was successful because it helped in the approval of the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States Constitution in 1972 by both the Senate and the House of Representative. Various state statutes have introduced a number of clauses that facilitate the equal right for all the gender in their legal system.

Since then, women have organized demonstrations against different concerns in the country. For instance, women’s movements have demonstrated for their right to choose abortion and against sexual harassment as well as gender-based violence. Additionally, they are also against glass ceiling especially in employment where they are discriminated to assume senior positions in the workplaces.

Moreover, since 1990s, women have acquired significant gains in political fields. For instance, Senator Hillary Clinton contested for Democrats Party nomination in 2008 during the United States presidential election (Women Rights Movements, 2014). Women have also served as Senators, Governors, Members of House of Representative, Speaker and nonvoting delegates.


History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives,. (2007). The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848–1920 | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. History.house.gov. Retrieved 23 October 2014, from http://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/.

Women Rights Movements,. (2014). A Brief History of Women’s Rights Movements | Scholastic.com. Scholastic Teachers. Retrieved 23 October 2014, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/brief-history-womens-rights-movements.