“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity” (von Garnier, 2004, part 10) and that is exactly what courage was viewed as when the women’s suffrage movement erupted in the mid 1800’s and it was quite the uphill battle from there. Iron Jawed Angels captures the height of the women’s suffrage movement with Alice Paul, a liberal feminist, as the front woman on the battle against Congress. Paul’s determination to pass a constitutional amendment can be seen through her dauntless efforts to go against the societal norms of the time to fight for women’s rights. Through the first wave of the women’s suffrage movement seen in Iron Jawed Angels, the struggles women endured for equality have a lasting impact on American society.
Iron Jawed Angels follows the path that Alice Paul took to fight for women’s suffrage and the right for all women to vote. The film shows Paul and her cohorts fighting for equality in Washington, DC. When Paul first arrived in DC, she was under the watchful eye of the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA). As Paul fought on, her values no longer lined up with NAWSA, which led to the suspension of her congressional union. In retaliation, Paul relentlessly continued her efforts by starting the National Women’s Party (NWP). The National Women’s Party solely fought for the passage of a constitutional amendment that would grant all United Stated citizens the right to vote. Although the opposing sides often came to a head, Alice Paul makes a great case when she says, “women don’t make the laws, but they have to abide by them”(von Garnier, 2004, part 2). With much determination and a lot of fight, the amendment was finally passed through Congress in 1920.
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...nce said to her, “ When you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you finish the row” (Carol et al., 2014), which explains why Paul devoted her life to achieve total women’s equality and didn’t want to leave any loose ends when she passed on. Paul has left a lasting social impact in history by showing women that you need to fight for what you want. With Paul’s courage, women now have the right to vote on laws that we have to abide by that affect our everyday lives. The actions taken and hardships faced in the first wave did not completely end women’s inequality, but rather paved the way for women to fight easier for their rights in the future. The first wave of the women’s suffrage movement has allowed not only women, but also many social and ethnic groups, to open their eyes and challenge societal norms to fight for equality in all aspects of life.
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