Feminism, also known as the women’s rights movement, began to emerge during the 1840’s.
The first organized women’s movement was established in the Seneca Falls Convention in New York on July 19, 1848. In this convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions was drafted, the topics ranged from women’s rights to an education, owning property, having a profession, initiating divorce, and voting. This marked 1848 as the beginning of the never-ending fight for women’s rights. During the 1850’s, women fought congress to include them in the 14th and 15th amendments which extended citizenship rights and granted freedmen the right to vote; they were unsuccessful. The National Woman Suffrage Association emerged in 1869, a group focused on women’s right to vote that opposed the 15th amendment because it excluded women. The American Woman Suffrage Association was then created to support anti-slavery and pro-women’s voting rights movement. The AWSA opposed the NWSA because they accused them of being racially discriminatory. However, by 1890 due to lack of power and influence, the two groups combined to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1913, the National Woman’s Party was founded. The National Woman’s Party used rallies and marches to gain support for equal rights. It was not until August 26, 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed. This amendment granted women over 30 the right to vote, which made the fight for the right to vote over seventy years long.
As time went by, the spirit of Feminism spread over different issues. During the 1950’s, women who had taken over male-dominated jobs during World War II were being pressured to leave. Many who refused to leave their jobs influenced the movements for equal pay and anti-gender discrimination in the workforce movements. The books The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan negated the views of women as inferior to men and brought about a spirit that yearned for an education in women. In 1963 congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which forced employers to pay the same amount to both men and women on the same job. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which included the prohibition of gender discrimination by employers. In 1972 congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which banned gender discrimination in schools. History took care of fighting for the dignity and equality of women.