Women in the Civil Rights Movement

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Sex or gender discrimination may be considered an inequality because the act involves mistreating a person based mainly on the gender of that individual. In the history of the United States, during the late 1800s, women raised a claim concerning inequality emphasizing how they were being treated compared to men. This contributed to the introduction of current civil rights regulations stopping many forms of gender discrimination. The issue of discrimination has been a noted problem for women and gender in the United States since the year 1870.

During the late years of the 19th century, women were not expected to have the same privileges and rights as men. For instance, women were not provided with an opportunity to vote and they were expected to give all control of their belongings to their husbands after being married. In addition, their occupational and educational chances were limited to a notable extent. It was widely believed that the place for women was at home, handling the domestic needs and raising the children. The initial notable efforts to gain equality of gender and women was noticed in the late 1800s. During that period, coeducational learning at the level of the university was provided for the first time. There were state laws that were passed that provide room for the women to look after their property after being married. Additionally, the first rights convention for women took place which consisted of women discussing issues that plagued the female community. Quite a number of individuals who supported the rights for women became involved in the movement for abolitionist during the period of the Civil War. Some of them even started being famous orators in the public, which was not a very common occupation for women during that era.

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The fight for equality continued even after the Civil War. Wyoming passed a law that provided women with an opportunity to serve on juries and to vote. Quite a number of other western states and territories followed in providing women with voting rights. Advocates for women’s rights were disappointed by the Fifteenth Amendment, which was confirmed in the year 1870, because while it stopped the states from discriminating based on race it did not prevent discrimination based on gender. In the year 1878, Congress made a constitutional change providing women with voting rights. Although there was a failure in the amendment, it was reconsidered after forty years. The struggle for women’s suffrage was led, in part, by Susan B. Anthony. Susan B Anthony was a social activist who fought in several causes and withstood several misfortunes in her efforts to end discrimination. In her fight for women’s suffrage she was imprisoned for casting a vote during a presidential election, something she knew to be illegal but felt so passionately about. Anthony was a very popular figure of her time, but many other unspoken heroes served by her side winning small victories along the journey to suffrage. Luck Stone is one of the first woman from the United States to maintain a maiden name after being married. In the year 1920, it was finally acknowledged that women had been provided with constitutional voting rights with the creation of the Nineteenth Amendment. This change pointed out that voting rights of the American citizens shall not be abridged or denied by any state of the United States on the grounds of gender.

Women in college have been in the past denied access to opportunities in education provided by military. Which in years past were male-oriented because men dominated higher learning institutions. These women were denied admission to these institutions on the notion that the physical education would be too challenging for them and that their admission would affect the morale of the men in college. The inclusion of women would somehow diminish the programs and that their involvement would necessarily lead to the reduction of expectations followed by a plunge in the university’s reputation. However, the Supreme Court of the United States failed to agree with those reasons, when it pointed out that it would be unconstitutional to admit males in the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) but not females. The Supreme Court identified that such a policy was against the clause for equal rights in the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore was overruled.

There was also a notable level of discrimination on women in the business world. Most African Americans who were involved in business were predominantly men. However, women were largely involved in the beauty sector of the market during this time. Women were generally not allowed to participate in commercial activities. Undoubtedly, as it is noted earlier, before the passing of a law by the Congress, women were not even allowed to own anything after marriage. So how would they be successful in business or anything finance related without any assets.

The generational differences started to be evident between the women of the 1920s and the women who came before them. Before the 19th Amendment, feminists mainly considered that women could not be in a position to successfully pursue both a family and a career. Arguing that one would inadvertently limit the progress and development of the other. This thought started to change in the 1920s as more women started to have a desire to pursue careers and raise families. The women of this era were less concerned with the social duties that previous generations had held in such high esteem. During this period, women were determined to accomplish goals and to get personal satisfaction. The 1920s reported a remarkable level of change in the lifestyles of the women who were working. World War I had temporarily provided an opportunity for the women to get into industries; for instance, automobile, chemical, and steel and iron manufacturing, which were once considered to be an inappropriate duty for women. Women who had been turned away from the factory jobs in the past started to obtain positions in the factories while the men were away at war. They did so by agreeing to be paid lower wages and taking the place of the lost labor of the immigrants who were the backbone of production during that time. However, their success was only considered to be temporary. Quite a number of black women were removed out of their factory duties after the war. In 1920, 75% of the African American female labor was made up of agricultural workers, laundry laborers, and domestic workers. The favorable economy that was evident around the year 1920 implies that there would be a surplus of job opportunities, even to the lowers ranks. Quite a number of young ladies from many different backgrounds did not need to aid their families. Undoubtedly earlier generations did and were mainly motivated to find work or get technical training, which would contribute to the social movement.

Young ladies started to claim their personal bodies as their own and got involved in sexual freedom in their generations. While a lot of these sexual explorations were already common in this time people were now embracing these ideas instead of forcing them behind closed doors. For example, all of the new sexual curiosities were found in the streets of New York before World War I. Scholars argued that sex was not only the experience of human being but that women were considered to be sexual individuals with human desires and impulse compared to those of the men. And limiting these impulses would be self-destructing. Around the 1920s, these thoughts had moved to the mainstream for debate. The 1920s contributed to the introduction of co-ed, as the women started being admitted to large state universities and colleges it became increasingly harder to seperate the men from the women. More families got into the middle-class and were able to provide the experience of the mainstream middle class lifestyle to their daughters. Women mainly joined classes where there would be hard working men, such as home economics. College, for some, was a place to find a suitable husband. Motivated by the concepts of sexual liberty, dating was very popular in higher learning institutions. Aside from sexual realizations, the en years span from the year 1920 of undisturbed capitalism contributed to the mystique of feminism. Most women focused on marrying, “good ones” remained at home looking after their children, cleaning, and cooking and the best ones did all these things and went an extra mile and worked to improve the standard of their homes and families.

Women faced several challenges in the 1930s. A survey for the National Education Association indicated that between the year 1930 and 1931, 63% of the towns had sent away female trainers immediately they were married, and 77% of the cities did not employ married women in the teaching profession which was a very popular job for women at the time this means that women were reverting to being non working housewives. Additionally, a study of 1500 towns from the year 1930 to the year 1931 revealed that three-quarters of the cities did not provide married women with any job opportunity. At the beginning of the year 1932, Congress enacted the Act of the Federal Economy, which explained that two individuals cannot be in a position to work at any service of the government within the same time. Three-fourths of the workforce that lost jobs as a result of this Act were said to be women. However, at the time of the Great Depression, the rate of unemployment for the white women was considered to be lower compared to that of the men. Undoubtedly, women received less payment and women would not accept what they identified as the jobs for women; for instance, domestic service or clerical work. As a result unemployment increased, the movement of the white women into technical and professional work reduced in rate.

Women were acknowledged in the New Deal that occurred between the year 1933 and 1943. However, there was no struggle to solve their unique necessities. In the relief procedures, they were liable to get a job only if they were considered to be the main provider of support in their families. However, there were no jobs that were provided by the relief agencies. During World War II, the mobilization of wartime notably altered the sexual boundaries of work for the women. Undoubtedly, the young energetic men were taken overseas and there was an increase in the production of wartime manufacturing. Women were pushed into different paid jobs and different vocational duties. Most of these women were married.

The movement for human rights lost its momentum after the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment. It was not until the year 1960 that the movement regained its stride. There was a notable rise in demand for equal opportunities and rights as more women began fighting against the traditional roles and responsibilities of being a housewife. They began joining the workforce, as a result, Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act of the year 1963, which stops employers from having any form of discrimination on employees on the basis of gender in relation to compensation terms. In the year 1964, Congress passed Title VII for the Civil Rights Act, which is against any form of discrimination in employment on the grounds of gender among other basis. The Equal Pay Act and Title VII granted both women and men protection against any form of gender discrimination.


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Women in the Civil Rights Movement. (2020, Oct 23). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/women-in-the-civil-rights-movement/