The Events and Developments of Women
American History Since 1865
January 26, 2015
DEVELOPMENTS OF WOMEN
For American women, this battle began centuries ago in the mid 1800’s, at a tea party in
Seneca Falls, NY., when a conversation between a group of five young women, including a young wife and mother by the name of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, turned to a discussion over the situation of women in the United States and in less than a week’s time, the women’s rights movement was born. The women organized a two day convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., to discuss women's rights. It was there that the Declaration of Sentiments was signed, requiring equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.
The ongoing battle for women’s rights takes place in three distinct waves throughout
American history, beginning with the first movement in 1848 that was directed at reforming of the staggering inequalities for women both socially and legally. They were keenly aware that the
America was experiencing a substantial rise in the middleclass, intelligent females who believed that all women deserved a voice in the laws that governed them. Their primary focuses were directed at education, employment, and marriage laws, all of which at that time leaned in favor of their male counterparts. Some of the major achievements and highlights were; the opening of higher education opportunities for women; the reformation of the secondaryschool system for girls’, which became a catalyst for the inclusion of women in the participation of national examinations which then lead to the widening access to higher paying and more prestigious professions, especially in the medical fields. (Contemporary commentary of the 1920s: The
Modern Woman, 2012, p. xx).
The successes of the first wave were hampered by their lack of strength in implementation, however this will be the driving force that brought on the second campaign for
DEVELOPMENTS OF WOMEN female gender equality. This second wave that would rise up and become more vocal, forceful, far reaching and successful than its predecessor.
While women were still fighting for their voices to be heard at the state and national levels, the suffragettes presented a new face to the women’s movement in America. They, unlike their feminist successors, were more radical and less “ladylike” in their endeavors to achieve equality. They were willing to risk their social standing, relationships, marriages, imprisonment, and even physical violence brought about by picketing the white house and President Woodrow
Wilson, who was also at the time a “wartime President” but most notably when hundreds of women and their mostly female children, were attacked and injured during a parade in support of
Women's Suffrage, on the eve of President Wilson’s inauguration. These extreme measures of civil disobedience brought international attention to the women’s movement and on August 26,
1920 the 19th amendment was ratified and a majority of women of the United States were no longer disenfranchised.
This opened the floodgates for women in the sense of equality in sexuality and selfexpression. For the first time in history women were sexually liberated. With women’s roles at home quickly diminishing, owing in part to the inventions of the vacuum and washing machine coupled with the greater access to birth control, allowing women to limit the number of children they were having, the number of women in white collar jobs rose as 25% of housewives entered the workforce. Women began expanding their wardrobes by wearing long pants and shortening their skirts while pairing any outfit with the ultimate accessory…the cigarette. Over the next decade women’s appearances will change completely, however they found that more than just their fashion views changed. Society now acknowledged that women were capable of