Some activists, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, attempted to vote before being legally entitled to; far from changing the minds of the male politicians, these women faced charges. It was not until the 1920s when many women reached their breaking point, inspired by the attempts of equality from the women that came before them, thus inciting what is known as first-wave feminism.
While the activists of the first-wave could have demanded everything they felt they were entitled, they made their initial goal simple: women wanted the right to vote. They were not alone in this ambition as African-Americans during this time were also facing oppression and being denied the rights being granted only to white males, causing a rift between social class, gender, and race (Code 15). When African-American males succeeded in attaining their right to vote, the women of both races felt more confident about their own endeavor. In 1919, Congress passed the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which declared that no citizen of the United States would be denied the right to vote, and took effect on August 26, 1920.
Unfortunately, this victory was short-lived when other women, those who believed they were not equal to men, created the Cult of Domesticity. This was a religion that suggested that while women were to submit to their husbands, they were also the most vital role within the household. The Cult of Domesticity combined scriptures from the Bible, which was in favor of the submission of women, and society’s need to make women feel needed without making them feel oppressed. The women were honored and praised for fulfilling the duties of nurturing their families, a job that the men claimed only women were perfect in doing. Many women adhered to these ideals, comfortable with their roles as solely mothers and housewives, but this prompted others to continue the battle for a greater prize that they believed existed beyond the walls of their homes. There was a lapse of almost forty years between first-wave feminism and second-wave feminism, though this span had nothing to do with a lack of effort. After their initial victory of securing their right to vote, women had not ceased their attempts at equality but created new goals with renewed vigor (Levit 26). Those years of silence may have been blissful to the individuals and groups anxious to keep women oppressed, and they sunk into a false sense of security despite the new battle that was brewing among the proponents for equal rights. In the 1960s, these headstrong women struck again during the second-wave of feminist activity, also known as the Women’s Liberation Movement, this time aiming for a wide range of changes, including sexuality and social equalities, especially in regard to the workplace. Sexuality was based on standards that had been ...Show more
The Three Waves of Feminism
1223 WordsMar 23rd, 20135 Pages
The Three Big Waves of Feminism
First-Wave Feminism: Women’s Right to Vote
In 1776, the then First Lady of the United States was the first to raise her about women’s rights, telling her husband to “remember the ladies” in his drafting of new laws, yet it took more than 100 years for men like John Adams to actually do so. With the help of half a dozen determined, and in this case white upper-middle-class, women the first-wave feminism, which spans from the 19th century to the early 20th century, finally led to their goal after 72 years of protesting. The Nineteenth Amendment, which secured the rights for women to vote finally passed in 1920. This grand victory brought other reforms along, including reforms in the educational system,…show more content…
They showed that women, too, could become political. Women from Rosa Parks to Coretta Scott King made political protest seem necessary and encouraged many women all over America, regardless of race and ethnic background, to speak up for their rights.
It was the feminist movement’s turn then to get real personal and by getting real personal it didn’t get any less political. Women had enough of the sexual harassment and domestic violence going on behind doors, of being kept out of law and medical schools and thus being restricted to low paid jobs, of being confined not only in domestic but also in public spheres. To make it short: women had enough of being looked down at.
With these problems the key demands of this movement were: “the right to safe and legal abortion, the right to accessible and affordable childcare, and the equal opportunities in education and employment”. Another demand was more support of battered women's shelters, and changes in custody and divorce law.
This wave of feminism brought up the most of changes regarding women and laws. Affirmative Action rights for women were extended and acts like the Women’s Educational Equity Act, which allowed educational equality for women, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibited “sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy”, were passed. Amongst these acts a law passed in 1975 that required the U.S. Military