August 12, 2013
The American Women's Rights Movement in 1848 paved the way for the declaration that revolutionized women's lives. Women demanded equality in all areas of civil, political, economic, and private life. Beginning in the 1960s women felt the need to reform the traditional bias in order to exercise the rights for women in favor of men. Today, America is living the legacy of the great progress women have made in all areas addressed while their earnest quest for full and true equality continues. Traditional Bias
Women were thought to be the subservient gender. The ideal woman was silent and submissive; her job was to be docile and obedient; a loving wife who was completely subservient to the men around her. They had to obey their father after they were born, and their husband after they married. The day of most American women consisted of maintaining the house, preparing meals, taking care of the children, helping them with their homework, being the ideal wife, doing the dishes and the laundry all while remaining elegant. Women had very few rights in early twentieth century. Less than a decade later, women began to take a stance on their independence and equal rights. Beginning of American Women's Rights Movement
On July 9, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and four other women gathered in the parlor for tea and ginger cakes. They found themselves expressing indignation about their property-less, vote-less status, then found themselves spontaneously vowing to change it. When they left that day, it was to organize what is believed to have been the first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, only 10 days later (Collins, 1999). These women among many others in society were prevented from authority or having a voice within religious, political, legal, educational, and professional institutions. The first women's rights convention that resulted in the Declaration of Sentiments sets the agenda for equality for women. Finally, in 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granted women the right to vote is signed into law. In that time women fought for suffrage rights, against job discriminations, racism, sexism, and for contraceptives. Women became tired of being constrained to domesticity and male dependency with no rights themselves, their property, wages, or guardianship of their children. Women began to free themselves from these constraints and sought to limit the exclusive power of men. However, 1848 was only the beginning of the struggle for women's rights. It was some years before they actually achieved any of these rights. Changes Brought About in the 1960s
Beginning in the 1960s, women started protesting for equal rights. The traditional bias of women seen as nothing more than housewives and mothers aggravated many women and made them feel the need to reform this stereotype. Profound cultural changes were shifting the role of women in American society. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care (Imbornoni, 2013). In 1963, congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job. In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex. At the same time it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties. In 1966, The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. The largest women's rights group in...