How Women’s Rights Have Developed Over the Years
It is no secret that women’s rights have come a long way in the last century. Society used to prevent women from making their own choices and expected them to bear children, take care of their homes, tend to their families, and do nothing else. Women could not work, own property, vote, run for office, and more in the past.
Now, women can do everything that men can, in theory. Laws have been put in place to protect women in situations where they have historically been oppressed; examples include workplace rights, voting rights and healthcare rights. Even with all of this progression, it is still important to look back on just how far women have come in the last one hundred years.
The first official movement for women’s rights happened in 1869, when the National American Woman Suffrage Association was co-founded by Susan B. Anthony. It began as a movement to fight for a woman’s right to vote. It was not easy; the women involved faced a lot of hatred and violence because of their initiatives. The campaign first started by stating that men and women are equal, and therefore should be awarded the same rights. Unfortunately, that approach was not making much headway, so women started arguing that they should have the right to vote because they are different from men. Women could use their more maternal and domestic knowledge to improve the political system. Protests began happening, women were arrested for protesting, and finally in 1920, women were granted the right to vote!
In the 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement began. It was sparked when Rosa Parks, a Black woman, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This was not only a fight to end racism and Jim Crow laws, but it was a fight for the rights of Black women as well.
Birth control and reproductive rights are concepts that have not been around for as long as a lot of women think they have been. The FDA approved the first birth control pill in the 1970s. Since then, there have been many different types of birth control methods released and it is very easy for women in the United States to access birth control, especially with the existence of Planned Parenthood and other birth control clinics that offer financial aid.
The first major Women’s March to take place during the fourth wave of feminism happened in January 2017, the day after former President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump has been caught on tape saying “You can do whatever you want. Grab them by the p*ssy or whatever you want.” Trump’s sexist attitude towards women was one of the biggest reasons why many Americans did not want Trump to be elected as president. Since then, the Women’s March has continued annually and will next occur on October 2, 2021.
We as women have come a long way since the early 1900’s. However, a law has recently been passed in Texas that threatens women’s reproductive rights, making many women feel like we are taking steps backwards. The Texas Heartbeat Bill makes it impossible for a woman to receive an abortion after six weeks gestation. There are no exceptions for instances of rape, incest, or terminal fetal diagnoses. This year’s Women’s March is anticipated to be bigger than ever before. Many women and politicians are angry about the Texas Heartbeat Bill and the ignorance behind it.