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Women's Struggle For Equal Rights

Updated on September 4, 2016

Votes For Women

Women's rights have come a long way since this ad.
Women's rights have come a long way since this ad. | Source

Women's Rights Battle Begins

An afternoon tea would be the start for the rights that women in this country now enjoy. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and several of their friends were enjoying an afternoon tea when the conversation turned to the situations they each encountered as women. No doubt, this was not the first time women had had conversations of this nature, but this particular afternoon turned into an afternoon of planning and organizing the first Women's Rights Convention.
In short order, this small group of women had set July 19th and 20th, 1848 as the date for their first convention to be held. They had also engaged Wesley Chapel in Seneca Falls as the location for the convention. The convention's purpose was to discuss women's social and civil rights. Some of the issues that these ladies were fighting for was a woman's right to own property in her own name and their rights to their children if they should divorce.
While preparing for the first convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton used the Declaration of Independence as the center for writing the "Declaration of Sentiments." In the Declaration of Sentiments, Stanton listed a total of eighteen women's grievances. However, Stanton warned her supporters that they would encounter misconception, misrepresentation and ridicule.

Stanton was certainly right on all three counts. Newspaper editors attacked the "Declaration of Sentiments" full force. However, editors had not anticipated how their negative articles would so incense women across the country that a series of similar conventions would be held nationwide.

Susan B Anthony

Susan B Anthony was one of the most prominent women leading the way for women's rights
Susan B Anthony was one of the most prominent women leading the way for women's rights | Source

Elizabeth Cady Stanton And Susan B. Anthony

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was probably the very first leader of the women's rights movement. She was born Nov 12, 1815 and her father saw that she had an education that a son would have received. However, there were many limitations for Elizabeth as a woman at that time. During the Civil War, Elizabeth focused her time and energy on freeing the slaves. After the war, she turned her attention to the rights of women, such as the right to divorce and the right to vote.

Along with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth published a weekly paper named Revolution. In 1869, Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B Anthony formed the National Women's Suffrage Association, the NWSA.

Her partnership with Susan B Anthony was a good one. It seems that Elizabeth was the organizer and writer while Susan B Anthony traveled the country giving speeches, and campaigning for women's right to vote.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is credited with married women having the right to own property, equal rights to the children and more liberal divorce laws.

Elizabeth died in 1902, nearly 20 years before women would be given the right to vote.

Elizabeth Stanton And Susan B Anthony

Alice Paul

Alice Paul Leader Of The Women's Party
Alice Paul Leader Of The Women's Party | Source

More Women Join The Fight For Women's Rights

The Women's Rights Movement had begun and other women would take up the fight for their rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was busy raising children and did not want to travel, so her good friends, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone were the ones who would travel the country speaking and organizing womens groups. Winning the vote became the main issue since this would lead to achieving many other goals.
In 1919, as it became clear that women would win the right to vote, the League of Women's Voters was formed.

The Women's Bureau of Department of Labor was established in 1920 to lobby for legislation that would protect women workers from abuse and unsafe working conditions.
In 1923, Alice Paul, the leader of The Women's Party drafted an Equal Rights Amendment for the Constitution, which stated "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." It would be 1972, another fifty years, before the Equal Rights Amendment would be passed and sent to the states for ratification.

Women Have Come A Long Way

Over the years many other women led the fight for women's rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone would pass the torch on to their daughters.
In the past fifty years, women have come a long way. Women now have the right to vote and all other basic rights. Women now hold important jobs in the House and Senate. Women have now made history by running for president and no doubt it won't be long before a women does indeed become president of the United States Of America.

Women Of Today

Modern women now hold positions as lawyers, doctors, politicians and other important positions that once only men were allowed to hold. Women have the same opportunities as their men counterparts. Today's modern woman often works a full time job while raising a family. Women can own their own property and handle their own financial affairs.

Women sometimes take these rights for granted. By the time many of us were born, these basic rights had been won. However, we must not take these rights for granted because they were fought for by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who made great sacrifices so that we might enjoy our freedom.

Women Marching For Women's Rights

Women suffrage march in New York.
Women suffrage march in New York. | Source

Susan B. Anthony Speech


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    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      I have to admire women's courage in fighting for our basic rights. Women have always been courage and will continue to be. Thanks for commenting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      hurray for women! Salute them for giving us the rights!

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      Thank you MsDora. I for one take things for granted such as owning property and rights to children but these are issues women had to fight for. They were very special strong women but so are we in our own way.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great tribute to these deserving women! Thanks for the information to help us really appreciate them. Voted Up!

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      I think that many of today's women rarely think or even know much about the struggles women went through for us to be where we are today. Thanks for commenting.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We take many of our rights for granted forgetting how much work people did to make us enjoy this. Thanks for the reminder.