Women Rights in History

Table of Contents

Women Rights in History

Women’s rights refer to the entitlements that young girls and women should enjoy and that guarantee them with the freedom to do activities that men would also do. These rights led to the formation of women’s movements in the 1970s. In some countries, women’s rights are enshrined in their constitution, while others have not yet considered women’s rights. In addition, the rights are recognized by the law and customs of the citizens of the country. This paper seeks to address women’s rights and the powerful voice that they have from the 1970s up to today.

Women’s rights movements in the 1970s mainly sought to get equal rights, freedom, and opportunities for women. Besides, these movements came to be known for the propagation of feminism, and some of them advocated the right of women to participate in voting and the experiences that women had in the workplace, politics, and family. Additionally, the women’s movements would also organize activism activities on behalf of women. Due to these efforts, a dramatic change was witnessed whereby household technology helped reduce the burden for women in homemaking and during other chores at home. Also, there was an increase in employment opportunities for women.

However, despite all the above changes, there was the enforcement of sexual inequalities propagated by culture. Many challenges, among them lack of fulfillment and boredom at home, were witnessed as a result of cultural imperialism. Women were placed in a position to only look after children and their husbands. Through the efforts made by the women’s rights movement, women were able to take up positions in government and as representatives of various unions. National Organization for Women (NOW) was one of the movements, and with a group of over 1000 members, it was able to write a bill of rights for women.

In the bill, discrimination in employment and workplaces was banned; it advocated for the rights of women during their maternity leave, reduction of tax for child expenses, and that women would be trained for jobs equally. The organization pushed for the incorporation of women’s rights into the constitution but met with a number of challenges, such as the union that provided office space for the NOW withdrawing its support. Despite that, there were significant changes that were witnessed after the divorce law was passed and employers were barred from firing pregnant women. In addition, studies on women’s rights were introduced in colleges and universities.

Furthermore, more changes were recorded, especially after Title IX in the higher education Act was passed by Congress as a way to minimize and reduce cases of discrimination on the basis of sex that affected mainly women in 1972. The Act proposed other changes that included male schools being pushed to admit women, and sponsors were wallowed to finance women’s sports in those schools. In 1973, the supreme court in the United States passed a law that legalized abortion. However, that decision faced a chilling after one anti-feminist in the US named Phyllis Schlafly claimed that it would legalize abortion that was funded using taxpayers’ money. With that women’s rights, the movement had to increase efforts in defending abortion rights and for women to be included in the military. As a matter of fact, there were some critics who even questioned the value of learning women’s rights as a major.

There were serval steps made in advocacy for equal women rights. For instance, publications were made in the 1970s to advocate for women’s rights, and among them was one book written by Kate Millet, called “Sexual Politics.” San Diego University was among the first institutions of higher learning to incorporate women’s studies.  A feminist conference was organized and held in Massachusetts in 1973, with another one held in Mexico City in 1975 by the United Nations to recognize the rights for women globally. Among the leaders who pushed for these changes was Alice Paul, who fought to ensure that the 19th Amendment of the US constitution was implemented so that they would be allowed to vote. Besides, as more women got a liberation of their sexual identity was pushed beyond the home. Other women leaders such as Gloria Steinem became the voice of liberation for women.

Gloria Steinem wrote an article in a New York Magazine that attracted everyone’s attention to the protection of women’s rights. In 1970, she gave an explanation and painted a clear picture to the Senate Committee on Judiciary what gender equality would resemble (Bergeron, 2015). In the information that she gave to the Senate, she said that people would be able to access better jobs and good-paying employment opportunities. In addition, by giving women their rights to learn, there would be increased skilled labor. Higher payment would motivate women to efficiently perform some of the repetitive tasks while at the same time it would provide cheap labor. If women were given opportunities to enroll in universities and colleges, they would break down the traditional structure of roles assigned based on one’s sex.

The division of labor on the basis of gender results in having situations where women are segregated. The notion leads to women being judged based on their appearances, demeanors, and attitudes. In most cases, when this happens, it forces women to relate the work they do with their identity, and that is why the interpretation of the work process is made based on how their work is tolerable.

For a larger part, the feminist movements were favored in their success by the changes that took place in the economy and the acceptance of women’s rights by society. More women were employed in different sectors, and because of that, the larger part of the society had to accept that women were important in society. However, even with the involvement of an increasing number of women in the workforce, many of them were assigned menial roles like clerks and other small administrative tasks. More women, however, began accessing education in law, medical, as well as business schools.

Today, women’s rights have been incorporated in every area and thus have given women a powerful voice to speak out about their issues without much opposition. Individuals, society, and governments have recognized that everyone has rights and freedom that they have to enjoy. Now, women can go to school, conduct business, and go to their workplaces without harassment. They are protected from violence and any form of discrimination, and they enjoy the rights to access the highest standards of health. They can own property, earn favorable wages, and they can also vote to choose leaders of their choice.

Moreover, everyone has the right to make the decisions of their body, and for the same reasons, women’s rights on sex are protected, as witnessed in many countries that have put laws in place to defend women. For the same reason, women can access reproductive health services that include safe abortions and contraception (Maxmen, 2021). Also, they have a right to choose when to be married and the size of family they can have, including the number of children they can bear. Women have been empowered to live without fear in any case of gender-based violence that involves rape and female genital mutilation.

However, the fact that there are some countries that, even today, have not embraced the value of protecting the rights of women in their country cannot be ruled.  In some counties, women are still unable to access abortion services (Nast, 2021. Women in those countries have a challenge because they risk going to jail if they perform abortion procedures. Some women’s rights movements and organizations in today’s world keep pushing for the rights of women so that they can be allowed to make choices of their bodies. Other efforts that have been pushed are the stoppage of forcing young girls to be married.

Some parts of the United States have made it hard for women to have safe abortions. In September 2021, the supreme court of Mexico made a rule that intended to decriminalize abortion. In a different case, other states that have legalized safe abortion passed other laws that made it even more difficult (Santamariña et al., 2021). For instance, Texas ruled that abortion cannot be performed if the fetal heartbeat can be felt. One fact that should be understood is that there is a difference between the legalization of abortion and the implementation of the laws that allow it. For that reason, some anti-abortion movements claim that the United States is much liberal when it comes to the implementation of the laws regarding abortion.

In conclusion, there have been major changes that have taken place in the advocacy for women’s rights since the 1970s up to date. Women’s rights movements and organizations pushed for the protection of women’s rights to be given equal chances in employment and job opportunities in the workplace. These movements also pushed for women’s studies to be incorporated in the higher institutions of learning. Today, women have been given equal chances, and their rights are protected by many countries, such as the United States in the constitution.

Works Cited

‌Bergeron, Ryan. “‘The Seventies’: Feminism Makes Waves – CNN.” CNN, 2015, https://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/22/living/the-seventies-feminism-womens-lib/index.html

‌Maxmen, Amy. “Why Hundreds of Scientists Are Weighing in on a High-Stakes US Abortion Case.” Nature, 26 Oct. 2021, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02834-7,10.1038/d41586-021-02834-7

‌Nast, Condé. “What Does an At-Home Abortion Look like in 2021?” The New Yorker, 11 Nov. 2021, www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-does-an-at-home-abortion-look-like-in-2021.  Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

Santamariña, Daniela, et al. “How Abortion Laws in the US Compare to Those in Other Countries.” Washington Post, 27 Sept. 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2021/us-abortion-laws-worldwide/.





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