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Women's History Term Paper

Pages:3 (854 words)



Topic:Women Suffrage

Document Type:Term Paper


Women's History

Throughout the history of Western civilization, cultural beliefs allowed women only limited roles in society, such as mothers and wives, and it was believed that women were intellectually inferior to men (Women's pp). Women shared the same disadvantages with the majority of working class men, since many social, economic, and political rights were restricted to the wealthy elite (Women's pp). During the late eighteenth century, political theorists and philosophers asserted that all men were created equal and thus entitled to equal treatment under the law, and when in the nineteenth century, governments in Europe and North America began drafting new laws guaranteeing equality among men, large numbers of women began demanding equal rights as well (Women's pp). However, this was also during the Industrial Revolution which tended to further divide the roles of men and women, since more men worked outside the home in factories, the rightful place for women was in the home (Women's pp).

Organized efforts by women to achieve greater rights came in two major waves (Women's pp). The first began around the mid-nineteenth century when women in the United States and elsewhere campaigned to gain suffrage, the right to vote, and lasted until the 1920's when several countries granted women suffrage (Women's pp). The second wave gained momentum during the civil rights movement of the 1960's, when the struggle by African-Americans to achieve racial equality inspired women to renew their own struggle for equality (Women's pp).

During the nineteenth century, most married women in Europe and America still had no legal identity apart from their husbands (Women's pp). Known as coverture, this legal status barred a married woman from "being a party in a lawsuit, sitting on a jury, holding property in her own name, or writing a will," and courts routinely granted permanent custody of children to the father during custody disputes (Women's pp). Moreover, women were denied access to a decent education, and public speaking was condemned as an "unnatural character" for a woman (Women's pp).

At the first women's rights convention, held in 1948, the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was written declaring that men and women were created equal and that like men, women were born with certain natural rights, and criticized men denying women the right to vote, hold property, have custody of children, have access to higher education, the professions, and "nearly all the profitable employments," and it criticized the church for excluding women from the ministry (Women's pp).

State and federal laws that discriminated against women posed some of the most challenging obstacles to…

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Work Cited

Women's Rights

Women's Liberation Movement

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