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A Generation Ahead And Behind: Women's Rights

1802 words - 7 pages

Women’s rights has been a long standing issue, going back centuries. The idea has been around for so long that every other question of equality relates back to women’s rights. Startlingly, despite being an issue for centuries, the modern world has, yet, to give women the full extent of social, economic, and political rights as they give to men. The solution to this divide is simple, and lies in a modern ideology: feminism.
Many people tune out when they hear the word ‘feminism’- they imagine a loud, screechy protestor who calls everything a man does sexist. Although the word may bring up some less-than-ideal images, at its core, feminism seeks to give some long overdue equality to a group that deserves it wholeheartedly. Initially, feminism began as a movement to gain women’s suffrage. Feminism soon expanded into three generations encompassing the struggles of women to achieve gender equality, and is the key solution to solving women’s rights issues around the globe. Other types of equality depend on feminism as well, including poverty, equal pay, LGBT rights, even rights for men. This movement empowers women, a previously marginalized and oppressed group, and allows them to slip out of the confines of their inequality and advocate for what they deserve: equal rights. Those who do not support feminist ideals are denying centuries of struggle for basic human rights and are exerting their privilege over the mistreated women of the world. As such, feminism is an integral part of women’s rights and paves the way to achieve several forms of equality.
There is a systematic, subconscious bias against women, largely stemming from the inequality handed down to females through time. The rights that women can hold have fluctuated largely since the beginning of society. In some ancient cultures, women had more rights than they did during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Spartan women, unlike women in other Grecian cultures, were privileged and had rights certain modern cultures envy. Spartan women were encouraged to exercise and wrestle, joke about men, and do many of the things men did (Lefkowitz and Fant). Meanwhile, in the 18th century, many people such as philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that women should obey men (Lauren).
In more recent times, women did not begin to gain rights until the 19th century. In the United States, women’s suffrage was hindered largely because people believed that women were not capable of making important decisions. The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage and other anti-suffrage groups were formed because of this. Members of the NAOWS “believed that woman suffrage would decrease women’s work in communities and their ability to effect societal reforms” (National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage). Several prominent political leaders opposed women’s suffrage, such as Elihu Root. Root claimed, before the New York Constitutional Convention, that “Suffrage would be a loss for women… Put woman into the...

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