The feminist movement in the United States and abroad was a political and social movement that pursued the establishment of equality for women. The movement changed the lives of many women and created a profound effect on American society during the twentieth century. Throughout the first two decades of the century, women 's groups in the United States operated together to win women 's suffrage, concluding in the approval of a constitutional amendment in 1920 that guaranteed women the right to vote. During the late twentieth century, women 's organizations would once again group together, this time to verbalize and advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Feminists also influenced literature during this time period. Novels regarding feminist beliefs started to appear, such as Betty Freidan’s “The Feminine Mystique” (1963), which is considered to impact the start of the second wave of feminism. Other forms of literature were starting to express these opinions as well. Lorraine Hansberry’s play, “A Raisin in the Sun” is a key example of sexual and political inequality shown in literature, and depicts a mother who is facing these inequalities without the help of a man. With the help of feminist literature, the inspiring voices of authors were able to reach the thousands of women who felt unequal and unhappy with their lives in the 1960s.
The years between 1917 and the early 1960s marked a period with two world wars and a consequent economic boom, which brought many American women into the workplace. This was originally to provide labor during the war, and then was used to help achieve and uphold a new higher standard of living that was enjoyed by numerous middle-class families. However, a...
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...ion, their amplified participation in politics and the workplace, their access to abortion and birth control, the presence of resources to help domestic violence and rape victims, and the legal protection of women 's rights — are often taken for granted. Betty Friedan 's generation did not want to undo the usual system, but wanted to open it up for women 's additions on a public, political level. Several prominent authors such as Freidan, Hansberry, and Olsen promoted the idea that "the personal is political" — that women 's political inequality had equally important personal consequences, including their relationships, roles in marriage, housework and childcare. As such, the different divisions of the feminist movement pursued women 's equality on both a political and personal level, all with the help of the many voices and perspectives of women through literature.
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