Women’s suffrage and equality is nolonger just a conversation. Women today have the right to walk into a bank anddeposit money into their own account, that they earned at their job, married ornot. Women may own property, vote, and serve on a jury. We are no longer seenas property, requiring a man to support and protect us. In the early 20thcentury, this was not the case; the conversation was still open and opposed bymany. However, when the country was at war it leaned on the shoulders of womenfor support, and the tides began to turn.
Inthe 1820’s and 1830’s women began to rebel against the idea that only a “true”woman was submissive to her husband, nothing more than a childbearinghousewife. Yet the talk of equality for women was still a hushed conversationuntil the late 1840’s. In 1848 the women’s rights movement was becomingorganized on a national level.
That July, Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mottorganized the very first women’s rights convention, located at Seneca Falls,New York (Staff, 2010).These women wanted more than just better education and employmentopportunities, they wanted to vote. The convention was successful in rallying 300women, and men, to the cause and making their voices heard.
However, with thebeginning of the Civil War in 1861, the movement faced a setback. Anothersetback was the deaths of Stanton (1902) and Mott (1906). By then Carrie Catthad already began leading the movement. Even through World War I, women’ssuffrage remained an important topic and the fight persisted. Two wars werebeing fought, one foreign and one domestic.
As the men fought for freedom andjustice overseas, women fought inequality on the home-front. Women had tosupport the county by sending their husbands and sons off to war, and they alsosupported the nation by filling the jobs once held by men, such as factory workand even firefighters. Munitions factories were the single largest employer ofwomen in 1918 (striking-women.org, n.d.). This acted assupport for the women’s argument as well; if women could support the nation,shouldn’t the nation support its’ women? President Woodrow Wilson addressedcongress on September 30th, 1917, saying “we have made partners ofthe women in this war… Shall we admit them only to a partnership of sufferingand sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?” By1918, Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma,Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington had all given the right to vote to women.
(Staff, 2010) Somehow, Wilson’sspeech failed to rally the support the bill needed to pass through the senate.The 19th amendment would not be passed through congress for anotheryear. In 1919 the amendment was sent to the states for ratification.
In ayears-time, 35 states had accepted the amendment; however, 60 more years wouldpass before all 50 states granted women the right to vote. Theseemingly revolutionary idea that women have an equal status to men in ademocracy is what produced the Nineteenth Amendment (Brown, 1993). Yet, thisvictory for women did not make them fully equal to men.
To this day, mentypically have higher wages than women. Many religions hold to the belief thatwomen should be subordinate to men. Women are more likely to be abused, andmore likely to live in poverty. Women must deal with sexism every day of theirlife. For women to become truly equal to men, men must wake up and realize theworth of women and how equality benefits all. More and more men are taking onthe role of a stay at home parent while their partner works.
For this to be afair and effective situation, a woman should make just as much income as a manwould in her position. Men are four times as likely to attempt suicide than awoman, and this seems to be due to societal expectations and pressures.Companies who employ more numbers of women tend to make more money.
Theargument could be carried on forever. Womenfought long and hard for the right to vote, and it goes beyond that. Women canhold public office, own property, join the military, seek higher education,manage their own money, and overall, make their own choices. They are equal inthat sense, yet women are not truly equal to men. Women are subject to moreabuse, physical and mental, than men.
They make less money, all because oftheir gender. There has never even been a female president. Men are in theposition of power, and they should help lift women up.
There may be adifference in gender, but we make up two halves of a whole, of humanity.