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Since the mid 1800’s, women all around the world have been motivated to create a powerful life for themselves. From winning the right to vote to securing equal pay grades, these women will not stop until they get what they desire. However, the question still stands: Has feminism truly evolved from where it started? Feminism has evolved from the simple desire to vote to women dominating the workforce and pushing for things like higher salaries and equal opportunities.
Two of these amazing women who fought for the right to vote are Lucrieta Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Lucretia and Elizabeth were major feminists in the 1800’s and they were both able to organize the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth went on to produce the Declaration of Sentiments, which demanded rights for women as well as getting Congress to pass the Married Women’s Property Act. Lucrieta and Elizabeth both criticsized the 14th and 15th amendments and how they gave the right to black men to vote and not women, and they both played a major role in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
Back in the 1800’s, the major goal for women was to gain the right to vote. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was able to accomplish this goal. This movement began a few decades before the Civil War, when the only people who were granted access to vote were white males. The first major event that sparked attention was the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucrieta invited a group of abolitionist activists, primarily women, to this convention which was held in New York. “Most of the delegates to the Seneca Falls Convention agreed: American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities”. Just the acknowledgement of women being autonomous individuals was a major step in the process of women’s rights.
It was at this convention that Stanton brought forth her Declaration of Sentiments which stated: “that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This was modeled after the Declaration of Independence and was a huge moment in history because every “he” was replaced with “they”. This called attention to the fact that women should be allowed to vote. However, even with these sentiments, when the 14th and 15th amendments were passed, only white and black men were granted the right to vote. Stanton, along with Susan B Anthony, went as far as protesting with racist white southerners against the 15th amendment. They argued that white women’s votes could be used to neutralize those cast by African-Americans.
These rallies led to the start of the National Woman Suffrage Movement, founded by Lucy Stone in 1869. They were fighting for a universal-suffrage amendment to the US Constitution. Then, in 1890, Elizabeth Cady Stanton became the first president of a group called National American Woman Suffrage Association. Their main goal was to gain the right of voting for women as well. Beginning in 1910, a few states began letting women vote, Idaho and Utah were the first. Despite this, many states still held off. Many women began organizing groups and campaigns, and alast on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified and over 8 million women across American voted in elections for the first time in their life.
This was a huge step in the right direction for women, but there are still many things that need to be accomplished. In the current feminist movement, the main thing women are trying to get accomplished is gender equality, pay equity unions, equality in the work force, and equal opportunites. One of the biggest moments in today’s wave was the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C.. This march took place the day after President Trump was inaugurated and went on to spark rallies worldwide. The people who participated gathered in the city to protest Trump’s agenda and to support women’s rights. They dressed up in a variety of costumes and marched around the nation’s capital. “…organizers say, is the principle that ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.’ That statement is pulled directly from a speech Hillary Clinton delivered more than two decades ago in Beijing”. These women wanted to make their voices heard, and they are tired of still being overpowered by men. This sparked attention from all kinds of celebs, including Hillary Clinton.
Aside from this, women still face major problems in today’s society. A survey conducted women from lawmakers to presidential candidates and asked them what they believe some of the biggest issues women still face today. According to them, women still face issues like positions in power, patriarchy, sexism, racism, economic inequality, and equal opportunity. These economic issues are a huge burden on women and their families. Women all around the world still find gender equality elusive. There is still a certain belief that women are less qualified for certain jobs and positions than men are. Women here in the United States still have access to way less opportunities than men do. These are major issues, but there is a positive in every negative.
2019 was a historical year for women and included things like more women serving in Congress than ever before and a new record of women presidential candidates. “Today’s families are increasingly reliant upon working mothers as breadwinners or co-breadwinners. The past four decades have brought about dramatic changes in how women—and men—navigate their workplace responsibilities, caregiving needs, and personal lives”. This is major as in the past women have been the ones who stay home and take care of the children while the men are the primary breadwinners in the house. These women have plans for the 21st century, but in order to do so, they need Congress’s help.
Congress has helped Feminism evolve, but only to a certain extent. They can help provide funds for paid medical insurance to help with certain costs. Policy makers, along with congress, were ableo to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which holds the discriminatory employers accountable and encourages women to find out if they are being discriminated against and to subsequently negotiate for the salaries they deserve. The Supreme Court fully implemented the Affordable Care Act, which grants full coverage contraception and other preventive services for women. By Congress passing the Healthy Families Act, it can allow workers in firms with more than 15 people to earn one hour of paid sick leave with every 30 hours worked. Currently, women are less likely to hold the high-paying jobs that already come with paid sick leave. Finally, more than 60% of minimum-wage workers are women. By raising the wage to $9 an hour, it would have benefits for not only women and their families, but for the economy as a whole. Even though this only solves a few of the problems, it is still an amazing start to what is to come.
Finally, feminism has been able to evolve from women gaining the right to vote to women dominating the workforce and pushing for things like higher salaries and equal opportunities. Although many women around the world still feel discriminated against in some way, we as a society have come a long way. Powerful women like Lucrieta Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton that are the representatives of Women’s Suffrage Movement paved the way for women all around the world to do what they believe is right in society despite it’s views of women’s rules. Women still might have a long way to go in society to feel that they are truly equal to men, but so far in the 21st century, we are off to an amazing start and there is nothing that will get in a women’s way when she wants to make a change
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