ADVERTISEMENT |  REMOVE ADS

The Roots of Women's Rights

Seneca Falls Convention, marriage laws, and other topics are discussed in this article on Women's Rights.
Grades:
9 |
10 |
11 |
Holidays:
CREATE NEW FOLDER
Cancel
source/Lib. of Congress
Susan B. Anthony (standing) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were leaders in the struggle for women's rights.
Women's History Month serves as a reminder that many of the freedoms taken for granted by women today were not always a given. They were hard-won by courageous women who risked ridicule, and even imprisonment, by confronting society's acceptance of gender inequality.

19th Century Women: Second-class Citizens

In the nineteenth century, when the women's rights movement was born, women were essentially treated as second-class citizens. They were just beginning to gain admission to colleges. That they were prohibited from the medical and legal professions, as well as the pulpit, stands to reason.

Women who were married had to surrender many of their rights, including the right to own property, to their husbands. Even some of the nation's founding principles, including the right to representation—in terms of taxation and any other governmental issues—did not apply to women, who could not participate in elections.

  
The "Declaration of Sentiments," an equal-rights adaptation of the Declaration of Independence, received a great deal of ridicule, but also widespread publicity.

 
 

The Seneca Falls Convention

The birthdate of the Women's Rights Movement is widely identified as July 19, 1848. While individual women had already begun to call for advancements in gender equality, it was at this time that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women's rights meeting.

Held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., the historic convention was attended by about 300 women and men. Many of them signed the "Declaration of Sentiments." This equal-rights adaptation of the Declaration of Independence received a great deal of negative press, bringing the convention ridicule—but also widespread publicity that helped fuel the women's rights cause. In the decades that followed, women achieved many social and legal gains, including the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (granting women the right to vote) in 1920.

Modern Day Women

Today the number of women registered to vote exceeds the number of registered men by 8.3 million. In addition, women can not only expect to receive unbiased consideration by university admissions offices, but they are the majority gender of enrolled students. They can even earn their own income and not have to turn it over to their husbands. As strange as this sounds now, it was not always the case.

While stumbling blocks such as equal pay and achieving the presidency remain to be conquered, women are in a good position to do so. Women's History Month, which has been observed nationally since 1987 (and as Women's History Week from 1981-1986), celebrates the trailblazers who helped women to secure a more equal place in society.

More on Women's Suffrage and Equality

Your Free Gift

The Ultimate Back-to-School Guide

Teachers are always thinking about their students, but devotion to their progress shouldn’t come at the expense of your own. That’s why we’ve created an “Ultimate Back-to-School Guide” for teachers based on our nine future-ready skill domains.

What you can expect from this guide:

  • Learn 9 ways to become a better teacher by developing a positive mindset.
  • Links to dozens of free resources curated by our experts to help you both in and outside the classroom.
  • Clear steps to improve your teaching and general well-being.

Sign up for a premium membership to get your Ultimate Back-to-School Guide absolutely free!

SIGN UP TO CLAIM YOUR FREE GIFT

ultimate back-to-school guide for teachers

Go Premium

Get unlimited, ad-free access to all of TeacherVision's printables and resources for as low as $2.49 per month. We have a plan for every budget. 

Select a plan

All plans include a free trial and enjoy the same features. Cancel anytime.
Learn more about Premium

Register