From the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, the two major historical points were the Women’s Right Movement and the Stock Market Crash. The Women’s Right Movement was started to show that women were indeed part of nations move to reform the country. One of the most important issues at that time were a woman’s right to vote. Women were no longer at “home”, they were working, being educated and participating in politics. Between 1890 and 1913 two groups were founded to highlight women’s suffrage and to push for reforms including allowing women to vote. Through the hard work and effort of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Women’s Party women achieved the right to vote in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. The current impact of the women’s suffrage movement in society today is the fair and equal treatment of women, having and sustaining the right to vote, and entering into politics. Although more women today are using the rights that were gained in the 1900’s there is still a long way to go. Issues such as equal pay, “the glass ceiling”, and political involvement are still being fought for. Women today are at least half of the work force while some are also running households. The next major historical turning point was The Great Depression. The Great Depression took place during the years 1929 to 1933 over 9,000 banks closed and business investments were down to half. The gross national product (GNP) dropped down nearly to half as well. Unemployment rates went from 3.2 percent to nearly 25 percent in 1933; some stated were higher than the national average. This changed the United States in so many ways. Approximately the same time, there was a huge drought throughout many states in the Great Plains and westerly creating what was called the Dust Bowl. Farms were destroyed and food was scarce. Farmers had to leave what were their homes and their livelihoods to go elsewhere and try to make a living. At the same time, people lost fortunes in the crash of the stock market. Banks went under and people lost all their life savings. For the first time in America, there was unprecedented poverty and despair across the country.
As for the frontier states in the West, women worked side by side along with men in numerous ways. When pioneers headed west, they took upon themselves the task of forging new ground mostly by taking raw, unworked land and turning it into farms. This required women to “get dirty” right along with men. They did an extreme amount of physical labor and this, in some ways, made them seem more like equals. In the eastern and southern states, women were not usually engaged in physically demanding work. They rarely worked, but if they did, they did “women’s work” and did jobs such as seamstress, teachers, or perhaps nurses. They were considered as not quite as smart and not quite as able to make decisions. Women were supposed to be, for the most part, protected and taken care of. They were not considered to be able to be informed or intelligent enough to make such a major decision as voting.