“Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms” (Baptiste). Just as in the past, feminism continues to act as a controversial issue among men and women. In the 1960’s, women finally addressed workplace inequity and created woman organizations to achieve equality. In the early 1960’s, the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act set a milestone for women’s progression towards work equality. Though women have made great leaps towards true equality, women still face many challenges and continue to be categorized as the subservient gender.
Women's Activism in the 20th Century History accounts for the great contributions of women in promoting social justice, particularly in uplifting the morale and functions of women in the society. From being the oppressed gender, various women managed to change the traditional roles of women by fighting for their rights to be heard and for them to given equal opportunities. These women boldly stood against gender stereotypes of women and proved the entire world that they could defy conventions. Particularly at the turn of the 20th century, women battled against the oppressions brought by patriarchy in different ways. These activist women had crusaded for the promotion of their civil rights, sexual freedom, and pursued careers which were once forbidden to them.
The battle for equality has been a long and treacherous journey for women. Women have been excluded from many rights such as the right to vote and the right to own property. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that women began EARNING the right to vote worldwide. In the United States, State legislatures began protecting women’s property from their husbands in the 1840’s. The women’s rights movement continued throughout history to BATTLE for equal pay, equal rights, and reproductive rights.
Women wanted to become more involved members of society. However, gender discrimination deterred women’s progress. How then did women empower themselves to advance in a male dominated society? Women activists revolutionized the changing role of woman by vigorously campaigning for equal rights. Although women were granted the right to vote in 1920, Gloria Steinem, a feminist who emerged in the 1970's, addressed the continual gender discrimination that limited women's inherent liberties in the workplace and at home causing a new wave of feminism to develop.
As shown through Elizaveta Kovalskaia’s memoir, she, like many women in Russia, was faced with many challenges and adversaries in her attempts for change and fairness for all women. Kovalskaia, the daughter of a serf and a nobleman describes in a memoir her experiences and trials in her attempt to spread word of change in this pivotal time for women in Russia. Women were being treated as lesser beings and sought for better workings conditions, higher wages and education and ultimately a political change. Women began banning together and advocating change and the overthrow of the tsar. The freedom on the serfs in 1861 only sparked the women to act further, which came to a dramatic climax when Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 by a revolutionary group led by a woman.
They seek to create opportunities for women’s political participation, demand better conditions in women’s daily live and “address issues stemming from women’s socially defined reproduction roles.” In addition to the struggle to change existing laws and create new laws, they’re emphasizing the demand for more rights, new public policies, and more participation. Presently, feminist movements are concentrating against human misery and women’s exercise of citizenship. “Brazilian Feminists struggle in congress, in the streets, for the right to formal education, to vote, equal salaries, and suitable working conditions. In addition to obtaining control over their bodies and sexual pleasures.” Beginning with the power of the pen, Nisia Floresta Brasileira Augusta, advocated women’s right to formal education by publishing many works. Brazilian suffragist campaigns led to women’s right to vote in 1932.
During the 1850s through the 1960s started a major wave for feminist throughout many countries. The women fought for inequalities and mainly to gain women’s suffrage (the right to vote). They were willing to do whatever it took to get what they wanted, such as picketing, starting a hunger strike and etc. These women fought to bring light to women’s issues to the national level. They encouraged others to think what the meaning of human rights really means.
Women were not permitted to have an education, work, choose their own marriages or plan out their own life. However, at the turn of the 19th century the rising concept of nationalism brought social reformers such as Roy Mohan Roy and Behramji Malabari to speak out against unfairness of women. During this period, Indian women began to form their own organizations regarding inequality and became an active participant in the women’s movement. Although women endured hardship and inequality throughout India’s early years, in fact, nationalism gave leeway for male political reformers to speak out against this patriarchal society. As a result, women became a force in the freedom struggle and widened the base for the women’s movement.
Dicker describes the revolutionary movements that brought about the changes in the society in terms of gender equality and women's rights. Although Dicker reveals significant similarities between the types of struggles in the first and second waves of feminism in the United States, ultimately she demonstrates that the differences outweigh the similarities. In the first wave of feminism, Dicker depicts the struggle that the women are going through to attain women’s right to vote and equality. In the nineteenth century, women were prohibited from voting and feminist such as Susan Anthony got in trouble when then went to vote and were faced with charges. As evidenced in the quote from the book, ‘... women deserved to make their voices heard and, in so doing, create laws that would benefit and protect them,’ the right to vote not only women gave them a chance to make socio-political changes in the country that would empower them, but also gender equality (Dicker 54).
The Women's rights movement is primarily concerned with making the political, social, and economic status of women equal to that of men while establishing safeguards against discrimination on the basis of gender. Feminists had only recently obtained their long fight for the right to vote, which they had hoped would help make an equal place for women in this society. The Women's rights movement has worked to reach their goals for women’s equality for at least two centuries. Women in this lifetime and in the past have put their entire life at stake, in order for them to fight for their rights. The problem, which has been buried for many years, is a dissatisfaction and a longing for many suburban housewives that are looking for something more.