Women – Time To Be Equal

WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS HAD TO Fight for the Right to Be Equal
 
In America, The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
 
The campaign for women’s suffrage began in earnest in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 30s, most states had extended the franchise to all white men, regardless of how much money or property they had.
At the same time, all sorts of reform groups were proliferating across the United States—temperance leagues, religious movements, moral-reform societies, anti-slavery organizations—and in many of these, women played a prominent role.
Meanwhile, many American women were beginning to chafe against what historians have called the “Cult of True Womanhood”: that is, the idea that the only “true” woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family.
Put together, all of these contributed to a new way of thinking about what it meant to be a woman and a citizen of the United States.
 
This animosity eventually faded, and in 1890 the two groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the organization’s first president.
By then, the suffragists’ approach had changed. Instead of arguing that women deserved the same rights and responsibilities as men because women and men were “created equal,” the new generation of activists argued that women deserved the vote because they were different from men.
They could make their domesticity into a political virtue, using the franchise to create a purer, more moral “maternal commonwealth.”
This argument served many political agendas: Temperance advocates, for instance, wanted women to have the vote because they thought it would mobilize an enormous voting bloc on behalf of their cause, and many middle-class white people were swayed once again by the argument that the enfranchisement of white women would “ensure immediate and durable white supremacy, honestly attained.”
 
This animosity eventually faded, and in 1890 the two groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the organization’s first president.
By then, the suffragists’ approach had changed. Instead of arguing that women deserved the same rights and responsibilities as men because women and men were “created equal,” the new generation of activists argued that women deserved the vote because they were different from men.
They could make their domesticity into a political virtue, using the franchise to create a purer, more moral “maternal commonwealth.”
This argument served many political agendas: Temperance advocates, for instance, wanted women to have the vote because they thought it would mobilize an enormous voting bloc on behalf of their cause, and many middle-class white people were swayed once again by the argument that the enfranchisement of white women would “ensure immediate and durable white supremacy, honestly attained.”
 
Did You Know?

In 1923, the National Women’s Party proposed an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited all discrimination on the basis of sex. The so-called Equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified.

Kat

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