CRUSA. Essay 2 Daphnee Mahalatchimy
‘Analyse the strategies adopted by a specific organization or social movement in defence of a specific area of rights’.
Over the centuries, the place of women in the United States but also in the entire world evolved and changed. After several decades of fights and complaints, women showed their strengths and asked for equality and understanding. If we want to understand Feminism, we can define it as a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal such as define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.
Since 1848 to nowadays, women (with the support of men) wrote their own history and are keeping to do so. In this essay we will focus on different feminist groups, their history and the strategies they adopted.
Since 1848, women claimed equal rights within the American society. They decided to make their voice heard and spoke their minds. It all started with the Seneca Falls Convention, held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. It was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. These two met at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. “Their voices remaining unheard in a world where men’s voices dominated” (Worthern, 2017), they decided to found the women’s rights movement in the United States. Feminism being divided chronologically in the United States, this first movement marks the beginning of the first wave of feminism in the United States. During this convention, women, but also men, decided to sign the Declaration of Sentiments which claimed the right to vote for women and access to education among other things. The right to vote seemed to be one of the most powerful tool for women to be recognized within the American society. It meant being recognized but also meant taking part in the campaigns and politics of the country. The Declaration of Sentiments looked a lot like the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, it was inspired by it hence its format and size.
The aftermath of WWII is considered as the second wave of feminism. Indeed, the second wave started in the 1960s driven by the civil rights movements. Women decided to react and organized social movements such as boycotts and public marches pushing for their human rights and protesting against discrimination. An important figure erupted from this wave: Betty Friedan. Indeed, in 1963 she published The Feminine Mystique. In her bestselling book she mentioned “the problem that has no name” and define it as the fact that “American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities and it is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease” (Friedan, Chapter 14, 1963). She was opposed to the image of the American nuclear family and defined it as degrading for women. She is also an icon because in 1966, she, with the help of other men and women, decided to cre...