Equality for Women

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Women and men have fought for gender equality for almost 200 years. With the strong organization of this movement, one would think problems would be non-existent. By looking at the history of the feminist movement, many of these struggles are evident. Through these experiences, one can see what has worked or not in the fight for gender equality and understand where to go to help solve future issues. In the early 19th century, "married women could not sign contracts; they had no title to their own earnings to properties, even when it was their own inheritance or dowry... "(Flexner 7). Women had no rights and their place was in the home. They were expected to be subservient to their husbands. If a woman were outspoken, she was looked down upon. The first type of organization that women had were in their sewing circles- "Sporadic and incidental as these efforts were, they were the first instances we know of American Women working together towards a specified and - in other words, organizing" (13). The first sign of someone fighting for improvements of women was initiated by a man. Governor Dewitt Clinton of New York addressed the public including members of the New York legislature proposing a plan for improving female education. This was pushed along with help of Emma Willard, and this proved to be a turning point in women's education. (Flexner 24) The next time that women started making strides was during the abolition of the slavery movement. During this time, women began organizing, held public meetings, and conducted petitioning drives. While fighting for the freedom of slavery, women first won the right to speak in the public. Learning of the rights African American deserved, women realized that they should have the same rights. For the next twenty-five years, the abolition movement and Women's Rights Movement "nourished and strengthened one another" (Flexner 38). By 1850, most states had passed some type of legislation recognizing the right of married women...
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