Essay, Research Paper: Women's Movements


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Before the women's movements in the United States, women who were treated
unfairly and not given any equal rights as men had suffered great tragedy. There
tragedy was the way the society had treated them cruelly such as 1women once
only had the option of teaching, and nursing, as career opportunities. Women
would usually have the role of staying home and taking care of children and the
home. Now after the first and second waves of the women's movements, women now
are treated with great respect and given independent freedom. And carry a great
deal of triumph. 5Women's Movements are group efforts, chiefly by women, that
seek to improve women's lives or the lives of others. Probably the best known
women's movements are those that have engaged in political efforts to change the
roles and the status of women in society. A women's traditional role throughout
history was wife or mother dominated, and most women's lives have been centered
around their household. 2Women's Movements usually concentrate primarily on
equal rights, freedom, and greater social, economic and political involvement
for women. In history, there have been two major women's movements, the first
wave was concentrated on gaining voting rights for women. 9On August 26,1920,
the nineteenth amendment was added on to the amendments of the Constitution of
the United States of America. This amendment stated that women now have the
right to vote. During the second wave of the women's movement, there had been
many organizations setup to help women unite, such as the Women's Equity Action
League (WEAL), the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL), the National American
Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the National Organization for Women (NOW),
the National Women's Party, the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC), and
many more.2The second wave, which emerged in the 1960's, was concentrated mainly
on political and social changes in many areas of the world. These contemporary
women's movement have sought greater equality for women in the family,
workplace, and political life. 2Women's movement's have won greater freedom for
women to as self-sufficient rather than dependent wives or daughters. 3Many
great American women have contributed greatly to the to the rights women now
have. One of the women who played a big role in gaining voting rights for women
was Susan B. Anthony. 8Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts on
February 15, 1820. She was an American Pioneer for women's rights in the 19th
century. Anthony also helped found (1886) the American Equal Rights Association,
In order to work for the Women's Suffrage in 1869. In which she also helped
establish the National Women's Suffrage Association. From 1892 to 1900,
10Anthony was president of the National Women's Suffrage Association. In 1872
she was arrested for attempting to vote, claiming the provisions of the 14th and
15th amendments applied to all citizens, male and female. Her ceaseless work and
travel made women's suffrage a recognized cause in both America and Europe.
3Jane Addams another American women's rights advocate also was a American social
reformer, and pacifist. She was born in Cedarville Illinois, on September 6,
1860. In 1889, influenced by British precedents, she founded Hull House in
Chicago, in which she and other social reformers lived and worked to improve the
city slums. Hull House became a model for many other settlement houses in the
United States. Jane Addams became president of the Women's National League for
peace and freedom in 1919. Together with Nicholas Murray Butler, she received
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She also supported investigation that resulted in
child labor reform, an eight - hour working day for women and better housing.
She wrote two books called Democracy and Social Ethics (1902) and Twenty Years
at the Hull House (1910). She died on May 21, 1935. 7Elizabeth Blackwell was
born in Bristol, England, in 1821 into a large, progressive family. Elizabeth's
father believed in fully educating his daughters as well as his sons, an unusual
idea at the time. In 1832 they came to America. Some years later, the death of
their father, Elizabeth and her sisters setup a private school for girls.
Elizabeth became dissatisfied with teaching as a career. She decided that she
wanted to do something in medicine. In the middle of the nineteenth century the
thought of a woman becoming a doctor was as preposterous as it was shocking.
8Elizabeth began her ambition by studying medicine as a private pupil of
prominent physicians of Philadelphia. Her teachers were impress by her capacity
for hard work and strong stomach. She copped better with the procedures of the
dissection room than many male medical students. Eventually after being rejected
by twenty-nine medical schools, she was accepted by Geneva Medical College in
New York State in 1847. Many male students attending the college disliked the
idea of a woman doctor. But in 1849, when she finally graduated as an M.D. (as
the head of her class), thousands of people came to Geneva to watch the awards
ceremony. She became the first American woman to graduate to obtain a medical
degree from a U.S. medical school. Confronting prejudice when she sought a
hospital post, Blackwell opened the New York Infirmary for women and children.
3Elizabeth Blackwell's struggle for recognition didn't end with an American
diploma. She wanted to enter a leading French hospital in Paris as a graduate
surgery student. Paris at the time was considered the medical capital of the
world at the time, but the French authorities refused to accept a female
student, even one as celebrated as Elizabeth Blackwell, now was. She then
entered La Maternite, a leading hospital for mothers and children, as a student
midwife. While she was working at this hospital she was infected by one of her
infant patients and lost the sight in one eye. This ended her hope of becoming a
surgeon. After she recovered, she was invited to attend St.Bartholomew's
Hospital in London, she later found the London School of Medicine for Women.
10Elizabeth Blackwell's contribution has made a pathway for many ambitious women
wanting to become a doctor. 3Like Elizabeth Blackwell's family, Elizabeth Garret
was born into a large family and her liberal father also believed in providing
his daughters as well as his sons with an broad education. In 1860, when she was
twenty- four, Elizabeth Garrett resolved to become a doctor. along with that she
also became Britains first women mayor, and Britain first women doctor. 4During
the second wave of Women's movements , many American women played a big role,
but there were four main, remarkable women who later became known as the Leaders
of the second wave. Their names are Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Germaine
Greer, and Kate Millet. These women had been affected, in their formative years,
by World War II. They had also lived through, were still living through, their
own crucibles, their own personal versions of what Betty would call " The
problem with no name." These women led America into the second wave of the
women's movements and successfully changed the lives of many women. There past
contributions are still impacting on the lives of women today. 4Betty Friedan
was a housewife, born in Peoria, Illinois, who had migrated with her husband and
three children to the suburbs of Rockland County, New York, had been offered a
prestigious fellowship that would have launched her career, but, fearing the
loss of a conventional marriage life, she turned it down, Gloria Steinem, who
single handedly cared for her disturbed mother then grew up to become the cooly
glamorous epitome of the "liberated woman." Kate Millet who was a
loquacious struggling artist and college lecturer vilified for her differences,
and Germaine Greer who chafed at restraints, the insults, the denial of women's
human equality, and perhaps most of all, of their potential. These women led
many protests and sit-ins, a lot of them gained world wide attention, the main
headlines of news were: The Oak Room... The Miss America Protest.... the sit-in
at the Ladies Home Journal. The four women overcame their weaknesses (being a
woman) and made it their strengthnesses. Women have contributed greatly to our
American history and culture. Some famous and some not. Women now a great number
of rights and are all treated as equals to men. Women now have the ability to be
or do anything they put their mind to. 6Women now have careers as doctors,
engineers, surgeons, lawyers, mayors, corporate executives, business women, and
a number of other positions that were once thought of as preposterous and
unheard of , but now considered as common roles. Women now aren't required to
marry, they aren't required to carry roles as wife or mother, and can live their
lives individually, they are given freedom. We would not be where we are today
if it wasn't for the women who took part in the women's movements, thanks to the
Great American women who made a difference in the Women's rights Movements,
women now have a great deal of triumph.
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