The Women’s Rights Movement has been a powerful force in American society for several decades. It has been responsible for various changes that have impacted how women live their lives. For example, in 1972, 26% of men and women refused to vote for a woman for president. Today, the average age of marriage for women is twenty-four, up from sixteen in 1972.
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Catts was an influential leader in the women’s suffrage movement. She was active in college literary societies and organized women’s voting rights debates. The success of her speeches and her efforts were well recognized. Eventually, she became the officer of the literary society.
Catt was an influential politician and took a strategic approach in each state. As a result, she influenced the ratification of the 19th amendment. She was also known for her outstanding organizational skills, which allowed her to unite the major political parties in the women’s suffrage movement.
Catt was recognized for her work on international peace, social justice, and women’s suffrage. In addition to her suffrage work, she continued pursuing her career as a writer and lecturer. In 1890, she married the wealthy engineer George W. Catt, who supported her suffrage work but believed his primary role was to earn money.
Catts Winning Plan called for ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and developing state and local women’s rights initiatives. She realized that it was necessary to attack the issue on all fronts. She encouraged women in states with equal suffrage to run for the federal amendment and, in states without identical ballots, to organize smaller, local campaigns. Her strategies proved effective, and the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified on August 20, 1920. Catts’s Winning Plan made her an influential leader.
Catt traveled nationwide, encouraging women to join the movement and work for suffrage. In Atlantic City, she introduced her “Winning Plan,” which included a push to get women the right to vote at the state and federal levels. The strategy worked; Woodrow Wilson supported the women’s suffrage amendment, which Catt helped directly through the arduous national ratification process. It was ratified in Tennessee on August 20, 1920.
Joan Bertin joined the Women’s Rights Project (WRP) in 1979. She became emotionally invested in a lawsuit against American Cyanamid, a corporation that required its female workers to undergo sterilization before they could be hired. The company eventually eliminated female workers, but Bertin and the women’s union fought for the women’s right to work in a safe environment, and the case settled out of court.
The anti-abortion movement changed its strategy as well. After violent incidents erupted in the early 1990s, the action shifted to a more woman-centered approach. This included lobbying efforts to change the National Cancer Institute’s stance on abortion and state laws against it. It also took action against abortion providers through malpractice lawsuits.
Women’s rights activists viewed education as an important stepping stone to emancipation, and they sought equal educational opportunities for both boys and girls. In 1880, the republican government started girls’ secondary schools to break the clerical influence over women. But state schools continued to teach boys different subjects than girls, and before 1914, girls were not allowed to take Latin, a prerequisite for a baccalaureate degree.
A recent World Health Organization working paper highlights the need to focus on gender equity in the health workforce. Currently, 70 percent of health workers are women. In the Global South, this number is even higher. Despite the increased numbers of women in the health workforce, there is still a gender imbalance.
Ginsburg also argued that women should have equal rights. The ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project was founded in 1972. In addition, she became the first woman to receive tenure at Columbia Law School.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American Supreme Court Justice who pioneered the women’s rights movement. As a law professor at Rutgers Law School, Ginsburg was one of only a handful of female professors in the country. She taught a law seminar that dealt with the legal rights of women. She became one of the most influential women in U.S. history and the women’s rights movement leader.
Ginsburg’s career started when she was hired as a law professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. She was only the second woman to teach at that school, and she had to fight for equal pay. When she asked the dean for pay equality, he informed her that her male counterpart had more responsibilities than hers. Ginsburg’s husband had a lucrative job in New York, so she filed a complaint against the Equal Pay Act. Ginsburg won her case.
Ginsburg made history in another case when she ruled against a law in Texas that made it difficult for women to access legal abortions. The case was known as Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and it struck down Texas’s restrictive abortion laws. Despite the case’s success, it still heavily burdens women’s right to abortion.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents. As a child, she flailed her legs and was nicknamed “Kicky.” She was raised by loving and supportive parents, and her mother fought for her education. Her mother, Celia Ginsburg, had been an immigrant and worked in a garment factory, and her dream was for Ruth to become a high school history teacher.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the new leadership of the women’s rights movement would have to face various challenges. The suffragists had been fighting for equal rights for women for only five years and were already concerned that the post-Reconstruction backlash against civil rights would further restrict voting rights for non-white men. This could also lead to further attacks on the movement’s achievements in the workplace.
Stanton was the coeditor of the revolutionary magazine “The Revolution” and was a passionate advocate of women’s rights. She also backed more liberal divorce laws, reproductive self-determination, and sexual freedom for women. In 1869, she helped organize the National Woman Suffrage Association and was elected president. The association merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890, and Stanton was elected president of the new organization.
Stanton was a powerful speaker who evoked strong emotions in the audience she addressed. As a privileged white woman, she used her social position and status to deflect criticism. She hid her family’s past as enslavers, took credit for other people’s work, and alienated co-workers. Still, she was a popular speaker and philosopher. Her last published speech focused on her argument for individual rights.
Stanton also collaborated with Susan B. Anthony to create the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. She became the prominent leader of the national woman suffrage movement and married the abolitionist Henry B. Stanton, whom she met in 1851. Together, they worked on several books and speeches. In the years that followed, their combined efforts paved the way for women’s rights.
In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The pattern produced a set of demands called the Declaration of Sentiments. These demands included voting rights, equal education, and control over married women.