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Feminism Before The 20th Century Essay

2150 words - 9 pages

Feminism before the 20th Century

For generations, women had been subjected to men. Women had no saying in what was going on around them, to what they wanted their lives to be, or even when it came to their bodies. Many women have raised their voices to protest against this subjugation, sometimes at great personal risk. Such is the French case of Marie Gouze(1748-93), who under the name Olympe de Gouges, wrote "Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizen." In this document Marie advocated for civic equality, as well as equal participation in political rights, women's right to vote, and equal education. She presented this document to Marie Antoinette in 1789. Unfortunately, the proposal was rejected and Marie was condemned to the guillotine by the radical Jacobin in the assembly, however the ideals have survived through the years. In the 19th century, due to the industrial revolution, a new middle class with wealth from land, trading, and factories, was created. The women of this class took Marie's ideals and created has come to be known as the feminist movement. These women were educated, and it was obvious to them the rights they were missing, because they saw how the men of their class had acquired these rights with the new found wealth. The goals of the Women's Movement in the 19th century were to get the vote, to archive equality in property rights, access to education, access to jobs and fair pay, divorce, and children's custody. In spite of a few changes women still where a long way from archiving equality at the end of the 19th century, so the women of the 20th century following in the foot step of their feminist ancestors continued the fight for the total realization of all of these goals.

Women fight for equality in the work place, first started with the industrial revolution. The creation of factories opened up a new world for women, they where able to work, at least until they were married, in many events. New opportunities were opening up for women, but equality in the work place was far from being achieved. Women were mostly hired for seasonal, or temporary jobs, and were very underpaid. Even labor union kept women out, because their standards would go down by letting such underpaid workers, as women were. When it came to security, women's jobs were the most insecure. They where the first to go, if there was the need to fire employees. So throughout the 20th century women continued fighting to archive equality in the work place. In 1933 the National Industrial Recovery Act, which designed measure to expand employment opportunities and safeguard jobs, was passed and with it women benefit from wage raise, shortest working hours, and a number of employment opportunities. However the fight continued since this provision only applied to the areas of trade and industry, so women working as clerks or domestic where not cover.

Women saw a great payoff when the National Labor Relations Board was founded, since...

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