The Women’s Rights
Equality between male and female representatives of the society is one of the most critical discussions of the 21st century. Modern morals, views, attitudes towards family, and life values significantly differ from the ones the ancestors used to have. In the past times, women worldwide consistently experienced gender discrimination and restriction of rights. Despite the historic maltreatment, contemporary society has proclaimed more civilized and equal norms for both genders. However, the cruel and iniquitous treatment of female population continues to occur periodically. In fact, the problem is regarded to be global; however, it is primarily discussed and evaluated in the context of the United States. The country is known for its feminist tradition, since women’s studies take an important place in education. Therefore, the purpose of the current paper is to examine the woman’s rights in the context of the US history and define their changes or development throughout the centuries.
Nowadays, the female population of the US has achieved substantial progress towards equality with the aid of productive activity of the women's movement. However, the equality with men in matters of professional activities, salaries, and state policy still seem to be in progress. Violence against women, and domestic and sexual harassment, continues to occur in the society. American women, who want to gain equality, attempt to change the situation by finding adherents in the various political factions and members of non-governmental organizations, as well as through email correspondence with political leaders on the main women's issues. Therefore, representatives of the female part of the population show vigorous and persistent activity to protect their rights and establish gender equality.
Nevertheless, the particular impetuous actions were not observed several centuries ago. Fierce and unfair prejudice characterized the position of woman in the society. Women were forbidden to express their opinion towards any political or social events in the country. They did not have a chance for the realization of their dreams and aspirations. The majority of people proclaimed that the primary role of every woman was to fulfill a conjugal duty by being a faithful wife and loving mother. However, not all women enjoyed the role of a housewife. Besides some natural responsibilities, a person always strives for freedom, where there is a broad range of opportunities to express the point of view, self-develop and realize the goals.
The discussion about the unequal position of the women takes roots in the 17th century in the works of prominent writers, who proclaimed some feminist ideas. They aimed to convince that a woman is a full-fledged person and she is born with the same right to be free. Among the compositions, A Physical and Moral Discourse Concerning the Equality of Both Sexes, was translated and presented in Clarke’s book. According to the author, the purpose of the text is to reveal the thesis that women are not inferior to men in anything, and all the rules and duties are based only on prejudice and customs rather than on knowledge. Thus, it is possible to presume that the unequal position of men and women in society is not a law of nature, but a result of the emergence of not examined and proved opinions and beliefs. Therefore, the particularly powerful protest against the gender discrimination inspired the female population of the United States and motivated them to struggle for freedom and equity.
Initially, the women’s movement emerged in the USA approximately at the end of 18th century. During the period, women's consciousness and the content of their private life were especially politicized. Female population that had not shown an interest in politics before quickly gained access to the political thought and took part in several discussions. The women of 18th century attempted to express their opinions about different issues in their letters and diaries. However, the restriction of rights existed, which forced them to apologize for their insolence to aspire for equality. The ideology and laws justified discrimination against women by claiming their biological, intellectual, mental, and moral inferiority. For a long time, a married American woman could not own property, sign contracts in their name, and even dispose of their wages. Nevertheless, the supporters of feminism did not give up the idea of reducing gender discrimination and continued to fight for their goals.
Specifically, the large-scale activities began in the first part of 19th century. Women changed their perspectives, namely they realized that they had a right to free choice and independent actions. Thus, they demanded gender equality through the socio-economic and legal reforms. Besides, the discussion revolved around providing the female population with social opportunities such as the right to freedom, education, and labor.
For several decades, American citizens have been arguing about the role, rights, and responsibilities of women in the society. The majority of people expressed different opinions about the issue. The one side claimed that women's work should be allowed within a limited sphere, namely at home, where the natural moral superiority of women will serve as purification and perfection of human nature. The highest social mission of women is to extend its blessed influence on men and make beauty everywhere. Thus, they are given the greatest of all possible roles in the process of reforming society. Representatives of other side indignantly denied restricting areas of female activity. Women intended to solve the major social problems; hence, they should be involved in all socio-political processes. If female population has a tendency for prosperity, they are obliged to apply their abilities to correct corrupt and chaotic world that surrounds them. The purpose of the theory was to protect and help women, who had to pave the way to life and survive in the world on their own. However, there were the debaters, who did not support any of the approaches. They proclaimed that women should be equal with men. The former have all rights to do and obtain everything that the male population possesses. Thus, the recognition of women’s rights does not require any special conditions or new discoveries. It envisages solely a renewal of what belongs to them by nature.
The women’s impetuous struggle for their rights was resultative and eventually brought a sufficient contribution. Thus, the significant upshot of the activity was the first US conference on women’s rights, which was held in 1848. Using the language of revolutionary postulates, female delegates sought to declare the end of discrimination and the beginning of new era of the free and independent woman. The primary document of the convention became Declaration of Sentiments. The authors expressed the evident truth of the equality between genders and condemned a long string of abuses and misappropriation of rights that forced women to obey. Moreover, the female participants demanded a chance for suffrage and equal access to education. Although not all the requirements were kept, it did not diminish the courage of the participants, who gathered to assert their rights. They made their first steps on the long road of change and reform. It was a path that eventually modified the republican order, eliminated injustice and gave freedom and independence to the female population of America. Thus, people dedicated the enormous amount of their works to the outstanding women, who were able to overcome discrimination and go beyond their assigned private sphere. They managed to achieve the desirable effects and engage in different fields of science, art, and culture. Therefore, struggling against the division of spheres, American women have declared war on the established social traditions.
Nowadays, female population in the US has enough possibilities to feel confident, independent and free. They have the right to education, art, and political activity. They acquire knowledge, communicate with others, express their opinions and prosper. The female community creates organizations or groups to support women, who undergo cruel and unequal treatment from their partners. Therefore, they attempt to apply any measures to protect and provide a happy and prosperous future in a world without discrimination, segregation, and inequality.
To sum up, the paper examined the position of women throughout the US history. It has been found that several centuries ago female population lived in pessimistic and restrictive conditions. They experienced gender discrimination, which prevented them from being equal with men. Women did not have an opportunity for free choice or an expression of their thoughts. The circumstances brought motivation to struggle for the women rights. American women did not receive enough support from the society and often had to face judgment and ignorance. However, the aspiration to be independent and equal in their actions inspired them not to give up. Therefore, the female population of the US obtained significant results by changing the society’s attitude to them.