The first women’s rights convention was recorded in 1848. Behind the scenes of this convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. The Sentiments demanded equality with men before the law, in education and employment.This was also the first pronouncement demanding that women be given the right to vote. After two days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men signed the Sentiments demanding equality.
In 1890 “the National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). As the movement’s mainstream organization, NAWSA wages state-by-state campaigns to obtain voting rights for women.” The federal woman suffrage amendment, originally drafted by Susan B. Anthony, in 1878, was sent into congress in 1919. One year later on August 26th, 1920 the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was signed into congress.
The right for women to vote took years, but we couldn’t stop there. In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act established minimum wage without regard to sex. 25 years later, in 1963 the Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress, promising equitable wages for the same work, regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin or sex of the worker. Two years later, in 1965, Weeks v. Southern Bell, marked a major triumph in the fight against restrictive labor laws and company regulations on the hours and conditions of women’s work, opening many previously male-only jobs to women. Less than 10 years later, in 1973 Roe v. Wade, U.S. and Doe v. Bolton, U.S: The U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution protects women’s right to terminate an early pregnancy, thus making abortion legal in the U.S. But wait, we’re still not done yet in 1994, Congress adopts the Gender Equity in Education Act to train teachers in gender equity, promote math and science learning by girls, counsel pregnant teens, and prevent sexual harassment. In 2000, United States v. Morrison, U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates those portions of the Violence Against Women Act permitting victims of rape, domestic violence, etc. to sue their attackers in federal court. On January 21, 2009 Hillary Clinton became the third woman in U.S history to hold the position of Secretary of State.
I almost typed “sorry” for the brief history lesson, but I’m not sorry. Because that wasn’t even everything women have accomplished over the last 169 years. I’m not going to apologize for making you read the things women have fought tirelessly for. We’re still not done yet either. Because female rights are human rights and we will shout and fight until we have the equality that we deserve.
Due to the overwhelming amount of controversy regarding the topic of abortion, it is extremely important to point out that women simply want the right to decide what happens to their bodies. I realize that there isn’t an easy solution to this. Because there are those that believe that it’s the women’s body that should come first and those that believe it’s not her body at all once she’s pregnant. However, a female voice needs to be present among debates regarding our bodies, because a man will never understand the loss of control a woman feels when she’s pregnant, scared, and alone with a baby she never asked for. Especially, in terms of abusive situations when she didn’t have a choice in the violation of her body. It’s her body, her choice. Men should not have a louder voice than women when laws are being signed about OUR bodies.
The movement of equality hasn’t stopped. On January, 21 2017 the largest Women’s March took place all of the world. Below are a few of my favorite pictures that encompass the overwhelming amount of people gathered to protest injustice.
In my early stages of being a feminist, I was extremely hesitant to announce that I stood for female equality due to my religious background. I thought the two couldn’t go hand in hand. Last semester, I shared this hesitation with my psychology professor and she told me about the book “Reclaiming Eve” by Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright. This book explains how Christian women often feel inferior to men in the church and why that mindset is so wrong. I’ll try my best to explain it as best as I can, but I really encourage y’all to pick up a copy of this book.
The authors unpack the creation of man and woman and the language (Hebrew) associated with each. In Genesis verses 18 and 20, God uses the Hebrew word ezer, (seen as “helper”) to describe Eve. “This word ezer is used 16 times in the Old Testament to describe God himself and how he comes through for his people in a time of great difficulty.” The author then states, “There are only two options in translating the word ezer into English. Either the woman is a “strong helper” as God is a strong helper, or she is a “strong power. The full force of the original meaning of this verse might come out something like this: to end the loneliness of the single human, I will make another strong power, corresponding to it, facing it, equal to it. And the humans will be both male and female.” Personally, my favorite part of this book is how the author describes what an ezer isn’t. “Did you notice that Eve was strong helper before she had sexual relations with Adam? …. the fact that God didn’t use a word for wife when creating Eve, sets every woman free to be the strong helper and strong power God intended her to be– single or married, mother or not.” I mean it seems pretty clear to me that God himself is a feminist.
Thank you for reading. Make HERstory y’all.