The women’s Rights Movement has contributed to a number of changes in the world. Most of the benefits have led to developments, both at the individual and national levels. Women empowerment groups emerged in the 18th Century in order to fight for the rights of women in the United States. Women’s Rights Movements had lots of impact on society, specifically by ensuring that women were accorded the right to own property, the right to vote, and favorable labor conditions (Barry & Susan 89). Activities of the movement groups between 1840 and 1850 marked major turning points in the struggle for the rights of women on different fronts. Organized women movements started during this period in The United States, adding energy towards a unified effort towards women’s liberation.
In 1840, delegates from various parts of the world gathered for the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Women delegates who had attended the conferences were denied an opportunity to be part of the proceedings (Blundell 224). They had to seat at the gallery to follow the proceedings. Two American female delegates met at the convention sidelines and became friends. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton embarked on a plan to start a conversation on women’s rights in America. Their efforts bore fruits when they organized the first-ever Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. It was the beginning of women’s struggle towards their own liberation.
In 1844, the first ever women labor movement was started in Massachusetts. It was known as the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) and was started by the female textile employees who demanded a reduction in the number of hours of labor each day. All working women were eligible to join this movement. The women were able to have a common voice towards their welfare, especially in the workplace. As much as things were difficult at the time, the association helped bring the awareness of the need to unite towards a common front on issues that affected the women working in the textile factories in Massachusetts and beyond.
1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York was a major turning point in the struggle towards achieving women’s rights. The convention that took place on 19th and 20th of July brought about one hundred (100) delegates, of which two-thirds were women. Both abolitionists and female rights crusaders attended the convention that came up with certain declarations that echoed independence declarations. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was one of the organizers and a mother of four later drafted the declarations that acknowledged the equality between men and women. According to the convention, women had equal rights as men to be treated equally before the law. A total of 12 resolutions were penned in order to help acknowledge the universal rights for the women in America.
The Seneca Falls Convention led to a strong force of women rights crusaders who came together in order to address certain issues that affected the women. The waves led to the strengthening of the reformers who stood up against social and institutional problems that affected women in America. Some of these barriers were responsible for the challenges women faced when it came to their rights. Another area that the Women’s Rights Movement was interested in was the family responsibility. In addition, women did not have voting rights, something that the convention refuted in order to recognize equality between men and women. Interestingly, women organizations also helped in the fight against slavery. Women because of an integral part of the force that agitated against the slave trade at the time. On that note, it is correct to note that women also helped the men because of their struggle to abolish the slave trade.
Women movements grew until the 1850s when it grew into a fight for economic freedom for the American women. They wanted to be free from some of the oppressive rules and regulations that denied women basic economic freedom in society. In the wake of the 14th and 15th Amendment, these women unsuccessfully lobbied to be included in the amendments. In these amendments, African-American were granted the right to citizenship. African-Americans were slaves who were regarded as properties. They never had the right to participate in the affairs of the country. In addition, the amendment only ensured that men could vote in the various electoral processes. Women were yet denied the right to vote (Gordon 234).
The Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 had set an agenda for many years to come. Other than New York, many states started initiating changes that sought to empower women. For instance, California was the first state to amend laws to allow women to own properties in 1849. Therefore, women in this state could register properties on their names. On the same note, women who were married could now feel the sense of ownership of the family properties.
The conversation went beyond American states, spread beyond the boundaries towards European countries like Britain and France. Women fought to have a say in the normal operations of the society. However, it is important to acknowledge the resistance the women movements faced in their effort to acquire their rights and freedoms. Certain thinkers believed that some rights and privileges were to be accorded only to certain gender and races. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a renowned philosopher at the time insisted that women were created to obey men (Blundell 227).
The movements brought awareness of the abilities that women possessed in society. The conversations in the various states led to the changes and recognition of women in society. Economic stakeholders became aware of the importance of women and their contribution to the well-being of society. Women come out to break educational barriers that prevented them from pursuing higher education. On the same note, more laws were put in place to recognize the women and to accord them equal treatment; however, this did not materialize as easy as people could have thought.
In the face value, people think the women movement only entailed fighting for the women rights by the women. On the contrary, such movements were joined by both male and female who were tired of the oppression in different sectors in the society. Male and female and female abolitionists joined in the struggle to ensure that barriers were broken. Other barriers were religious in nature while others were social. The Women’s Rights Movement between 1840 and 1850 was significant in opening up a conversation that led to awareness and the need to break barriers. Employers had to come up with conducive working for the formula for the women laborers in their factories.
Barry, Kathreen, and Susan Anthony. A Biography of a Singular Feminist, New York: Ballantine
Blundell, Sue. Women in ancient Greece, Volume 2, Harvard University Press, 1995.
Gordon, Ann D., ed. The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony:
Against an aristocracy of sex, 1866 to 1873. Vol. 2 of 6, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000.
Pomeroy, Sarah. Spartan Women. Oxford University Press, 2002.