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Rights Of Women Essay, Research Paper

The Rights Of Women

The first object of laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex. Mary Wollstonecraft

Since the dawn of civilized society, mankind has witnessed prejudices of various kinds. There have been racial prejudices, cultural prejudices, and several others. One of the most impacting of these discriminations has been sexual discrimination; and more specifically, the rights of women in our societies. There are not many who would argue that the rights of women have been lacking since the first recorded history books. However, in order to fully understand the history of women s suffrage, it is essential to observe the course of change in which has taken place through the previous years. This essay will observe the many changes in which have taken place in relevance to women s rights, and in addition, will view the actions that indeed aided in their outcomes.

For centuries, women have been looked upon as slaves. Pardon the harsh word choice, but when observed closely, history accepts this accusation. Starting all the way back to the conception of the Bible, the world was reading about the male being the dominant figure, whereas the female would exist solely as the provider. As history told it, the course of society followed. The relationship of male to female became something not very complicated. In simplified terms, the male was in charge. He ran the family and made a most, if not all, of the decisions. Women would suffer uncontrollable domestic violence, both physical and psychological. Trying to fight back was obviously out of the question, for they would only gain more severe beatings and more psychological abuse. They would be put to work from dawn to dusk, and when the males came home from their day, it was time to tend to their needs. The best way to describe this treatment is slavery. The problem was that no one could see it any other way, (at least, not many). They didn t even comprehend the fact that they may have had another choice. The world was a male dominant place, and there were few of who saw the rationality of this lifestyle. However, there was always a few diamonds in the rough of who proved their higher intellect and exceptional courage during these trying times for women.

Mary Wollstonecraft lived from 1759-1797. She was a woman in which viewed her life a bit clearer than most women of her time. A Vindication of the Rights of Women was a piece written by Wollstonecraft, and it is a piece that reflects true understanding of the rights of any human being in society. Throughout her writing, she uses quite a bit of sarcasm to demonstrate how preposterous it would be if women used a bit more than their fascinating graces to express that they may indeed be somewhat rational creatures after all. One of my favorite lines in the piece is when she says, Dismissing, then, those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence This would easily make one giggle because it is in fact the truth. This piece was written in 1792, when most women wouldn t even dare say no to another male, and yet hear Mrs. Wollstonecraft is telling the entire male race to quit talking to females in such demeaning manner, using drab, tasteless compliments in an attempt to maintain their slavery in which they so willingly depend upon. She even persuades the rational men out there to be more masculine and respectable. In these times, Mrs. Wollstonecraft could have easily been killed for saying such things. Thankfully she did not, and this enabled her work and words to spread to others. She saw what has been necessary to see by all women. She realized that all were created equal, and none were to be treated better than others. This is one of few that began the process of change for the rights of women.

In New York, 1,030,000 women signed a petition asking for the right to vote. The petitions were pasted on placards borne by women marchers in a suffrage parade. The procession of the petitions alone covered more than half a mile.

One of the most impacting alterations in the history of women s rights was the right to vote. The right to vote was always viewed upon as a symbol of the right to be (disregarding age). Everyone would agree that if a certain grouping of individuals were denied the right to vote, there must be just cause for that ruling. The problem was that when someone would ask, Why are women not permitted to the voting rights of men? , not many could answer with acceptable reasoning. This was a huge step for women in the race of life!

The movement for woman suffrage arose in many countries in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the United- States, woman suffrage began with a declaration of women s rights issued on July 19, 1848 by a group of feminists. In 1869, the movement gained even greater momentum with the establishment of the National Woman Suffrage Association. This was a huge step towards the rights of women, and on August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed, giving women equal voting rights. From this point on, the women, who for so long were trapped behind the impenetrable wall of male dominance, were now exceeding their known limits. Abigail Adams once stated, John, in the new code of laws remember the ladies Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could We will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation. Women were no longer hiding. They were speaking their mind and realizing what all women should have long before: equality.

In present times, these movements for women s rights have come a long way. Not many will say that women s rights are now equal to men s, for there is still work to be done. However, the important thing to understand is that when comparing the rights of women from the 18th Century to present times, it is quite apparent that they have come a long way. It should be obvious by most that the level of social, economic, or political status should be determined solely by ability, not sex; and that anyone who satisfies the requirements of a task at hand is plenty eligible for that task. Mrs. Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as all of the strong women throughout history, should be utterly praised, for they created a path by which the women of the world have followed, thereby establishing a society well on it s way to equality.

History looks different when the contributions of women are included. -The National Women s History Project


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