The Movement Of Womens Rights Essay Research

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The Movement Of Womens Rights Essay, Research Paper “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That was Margaret Mead’s conclusion after a lifetime of observing very diverse cultures around the world. Her insight has been borne out time and again throughout the development of this country of ours. Being allowed to live life in an atmosphere of religious freedom, having a voice in the government you support with your taxes, living free of lifelong enslavement by another person. Many once considered these beliefs about how life should and must be lived outlandish. But visionaries whose steadfast work brought about changed minds and attitudes fervently held these beliefs. Now these

beliefs are commonly shared across U.S. society. 1998 marks the 150th Anniversary of a movement by women to achieve full civil rights in this country. The staggering changes for women that have come about over those seven generations in family life, in religion, in government, in employment, in education – these changes did not just happen spontaneously. Women themselves made these changes happen, very deliberately. Women have not been the passive recipients of miraculous changes in laws and human nature. Seven generations of women have come together to affect these changes in the most democratic ways: through meetings, petition drives, lobbying, public speaking, and nonviolent resistance. Throughout 1998, the 150th anniversary of the Women’s Rights Movement is being

celebrated across the nation with programs and events taking every form imaginable. Like many amazing stories, the history of the Women’s Rights Movement began with a small group of people questioning why human lives were being unfairly constricted. The Women’s Rights Movement marks July 13, 1848 as it?s beginning. On that sweltering summer day in upstate New York, a young housewife and mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was invited to tea with four women friends. When the course of their conversation turned to the situation of women, Stanton poured out her discontent with the limitations placed on her own situation under America’s new democracy. Surely the new republic would benefit from having its women play more active roles throughout society. Stanton’s friends agreed

with her, passionately. Today we are living the legacy of this afternoon conversation among women friends. Throughout 1998, events celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Women’s Rights Movement are looking at the massive changes these women set in motion when they daringly agreed to convene the world’s first Women’s Rights Convention. These were patriotic women, sharing the ideal of improving the new republic. As the women set about preparing for the event, Elizabeth Cady Stanton used the Declaration of Independence as the framework for writing what she titled a “Declaration of Sentiments.” In what proved to be a brilliant move, Stanton connected the nascent campaign for women’s rights directly to that powerful American symbol of liberty. Married women were legally

dead in the eyes of the law Women were not allowed to vote Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation Married women had no property rights Divorce and child custody laws favoured men, giving no rights to women Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made