Woman’s Suffrage And Feminism Essay

1740 words - 7 pages

Previously, women have existed in a society ruled by man and have been put under the expectation to be at home raising the children and taking care of the home, while men were expected to go to work and provide for the family. Since the beginning of civilization, women have been victims to prejudice that eventually “compelled women at last to throw off the political, economic, intellectual and social shackles that bound them” (Joshi 13). The complexity of women’s hardship during the nineteenth century, in the fight for equality, resulted in many women getting arrested and looked down upon from their communities. Although the consequences seem treachery, many women risked their livelihood and pushed forth determination and will power to strive and succeed for a much more important goal: equality and respect. However, are the freedoms female human rights activists fought so hard to obtain, still not being exercised throughout American society, which many suffragists hoped for?
During the civil war in 1861-1865, when the men went away to fight, the women were left in the towns and cities to provide for themselves by aggressively taking over all the necessary jobs that needed a stand-in. They received very little pay, usually less than half the average pay of a man would earn (Thomsen 32). Along with manual labor, the woman would go home and take care of the household and the children after a long days work. For several years women were capable of juggling both the male and female roles and yet still earned very little respect in society. During the fight, many anti-feminists preached on a daily basis to practically anyone who would listen, their opinion in regards to women. One example is from Edward H. Clarke, a successful author, argued that a woman’s reproductive organs were endangered by too much education and that the brain of a woman was five ounces smaller than the brain of a man (Joshi 16). Although most accusations were false, many citizens began to believe such blasphemy, making the movement for women to have the right to vote increasingly more difficult.
In the nineteenth century, during the suffrage movement, the suffragists emphasized the equality between men and women arguing that women had an equal right to education, professions from the education and of course the right to vote. By 1848, the legislature passed the Married Women’s Property Act, allowing wives to own property in their own name. Also, between 1857 and 1860 country’s lawmakers amended the act to allow women to have shared joint custody of their children, to collect their own earnings and when widowed, to inherit the same amount as their children. Famous woman’s rights activist, Susan B. Anthony, expressed her thoughts about men dominating the society after being arrested for casting an illegal vote in the presidential election of 1872. “The Preamble of the Constitution says it was we the people; not we the white, male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we...

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