The Women's Movement Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

The Women's Movement
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The women’s movement began in the nineteenth century when groups of women began to speak out against the feeling of separation, inequality, and limits that seemed to be placed on women because of their sex (Debois 18). By combining two aspects of the past, ante-bellum reform politics and the anti-slavery movement, women were able to gain knowledge of leadership on how to deal with the Women’s Right Movement and with this knowledge led the way to transform women’s social standing (Dubois 23). Similarly, the movement that made the largest impact on American societies of the 1960’s and 1970’s was the Civil Right Movement, which in turn affected the women’s movement (Freeman 513). According to informant Betsie Cole, at age forty-six and an instructor at East Tennessee State University, the women’s movement made a large impact on her life growing up and she is still able to see the changes that the women’s movement has made in society.

Cole states that women did not have to be directly involved in the twentieth century women’s movement to feel and notice the impact it had on society. Cole, for example, notes that even though she wasn’t in an organization to help support the women’s movement until she was in college, it still made an impact on her during her high school years. "The modern movement was just getting into gear when I was in high school and that was my formative years. That thinking about- well, what is a women’s role? What am I supposed to be after high school?" stated Cole.

Cole considers this era a period of questioning mainly because college was considered a choice at the time when she was graduating high school.

Are you going to work or are you going to start a family? And if you were going to go to work, you had to choose am I going to go to work now or are you going to go to college? So, it laid the whole ground work for the choices I made. That it had to be a choice because you couldn’t do both, because that’s the way it was presented," commented Cole.

Making the decision early on to go to college was not easy for Cole. She recalls in one visit to her guidance counselor that the counselor asked Cole why she was taking hard classes and before Cole had time to respond the counselor implied that Cole was taking the classes because that was where the boys were.

In 1970 when Cole entered college she became a member of NOW (National Organization of Women). Cole entered NOW expecting to take a stand for all women. The key phrase in the previous sentences is- all women, which is one of the main reasons Cole dropped out of NOW. NOW only seemed to take a stand for women going into college or going into the work force, not for the women that choose to go to work and start a family. That may seem surprising to some considering that some of NOW’s founders were mothers who had families. According to Cole, "Women who were married or were wives were not included in any of the women’s...

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