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Women once considered to be the inferior of the two sexes grew over time to be respected, successful and educated. For women to reach this ultimate goal it took about a century of their time, strength, and patience to be considered a force to be reckoned with. Women were scorned for trying to fight for their rights by changing their fashion or even trying to find their place. Society played a major part in degrading and destroying any chance that women had of changing the social order. The Women's Movement of the 1920s influenced opportunities for women in future generations.
Before, any of the Women's Movements started there was a path that was leading to the 1920s change in fashion. In the 1850s women started to change what they wore to less traditional outfits. Elizabeth Smith Miller was the first to experiment with a new style. Miller's new fashion was a pair of ballooning trousers worn underneath a skirt. The new fad faced resistance from the public that they considered to be inappropriate to be dressed in that way manure. Amelia Bloomer was a supporter of the new style; she even wrote a journal called The Lily in 1851 that supported the pantaloon costume. In The Lily inspired a change in women's appearance and later women wanted to know how to sew the costume. Bloomer published pictures with instructions how to do it. Bloomer became so familiar with the new style that it was called "bloomerettes" and later "bloomers". The attempts to change women styles were taking away from their movement for women rights. Since, they noticed that more people were paying attention more to style than the movement, it ended in 1854. This would not be the last attempt to change the style for women.
Later, when the Women's Movement was formerly started in the 1920s, it inspired a strong effect on women's fashions. During that time, the showing of legs became popular with a more masculine look, such as flattened breast, hips and bobbed hair. With the inspiration of a New Feminine style became one of the most famous fashion designers, Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel had a big influence in women fashions in the 1920s. Coco Chanel had clothes ensembles, scarves, and inexpensive jewelry that appealed to American women. With the emergence of new fashions came magazines that would have info about them such as Vogue, The Queen, and Harper's. These three leading magazines for women gave new advances to the Women's Movement. The women of the time were called "Flappers", which was started in Great Britain and then moved to the United States. Flappers came from women wearing an overshoe that flapped when they walked.
Soon, Birth Control would become a symbol for women's sexual freedom. Any information distributed in the public was illegal at the time. Margaret Sanger led the birth control movement in the U.S. Sanger's work was inspired by her mother because she gave birth to eleven children, while her heath suffered because of it. Sanger's believed that with protection that women would be able to have a choice to keep or stop before the baby is conceived. The Comstock Act of 1873 forbids the information of birth control or its devices to be distributed. Sander's fought for the right of birth control from 1912 to 1916. With numerous articles and arrests forced a change in laws that allow doctors to give birth control. Today, women are able to freely use birth control.
In order to, fully understand the Women's Movement one must understand the birth of it in America. Seneca Falls Conference in 1848 was the mother of the feminist movement in America. The Seneca Falls Conference was started by Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott. At the conference it covered the social, civil, and religious rights of women. Stanton was a strong willed woman that wanted the change in women's equality. Stanton was mostly the leader of the conference and issued a "Declaration of Sentiments" based off the Declaration of Independence. In the document it stated "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men and women are created equal," (Sullivan 23). It demanded that women have equal political and economic rights. During, the movement one main supporter was Fredrick Douglas who was a former black slave and was an abolitionist. Seneca Falls Conference pointed out the inequalities and the ambition for a more equal America.
Immediately, after the men left for war in WWII women took jobs to accommodate the change. WWII gave a chance for women to join labor forces and in 1942-43 formed their own branches of services such as Women Army Corps (WAC), Women appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), and the Marine Corps Women's Reserve (MCWR). During that time 350,000 women served in labor services. There were women that stayed in America to take on jobs left by men. The most crucial work for women during that time was making shells. At that time women had a sense of responsibility and importance. When the war ended on August 15, 1945 all women were fired for the men that wanted their jobs back.
After, the war women were encouraged to no longer pursue careers and focus on what was considered their main job being a mother and a wife. Since the war ended a lot of women did not want to stay in the labor force. After the war the percentage of women was 25 percent that dropped to 7.5 percent. Most of the women enjoyed serving in the labor and did not want back track by not having a career at all. The only way that women could work was if it was considered women's work such as file clerk, teacher, salesclerk or a keypunch operator. Women earned 65 percent of what men made in 1850 and in 1960 it dropped five percent. Women were not being treated as equals after all the hard work they provided. Women showed that they were capable of doing more than what was expected, yet they were still treated as subordinates to men.
In fact, there were numerous laws passed to secure the rights of women. In 1923 one law that was proposed, but was not able to be ratified before the 1982 deadline was the Equal Rights Amendment. That amendment was first proposed by the National Women's Party and would have eliminated discrimination on the basis of gender. Even though this amendment was not able to be passed it gave birth to Equal Pay Act of 1963, Higher Education Act of 1972 and the Equal Rights Act of 1975. These acts helped to build an equal America from the seed planted from the Women's Movement.
During the 1800s women education was coming alive in America. Emma Willard started the first all girls' institution. Willard started the school in Troy, NY in 1821 called the Troy Female Seminary, which later was called Emma Willard School in 1872. Catherine Beecher made a school for female teachers to get their training while teaching. Beecher founded the Milwaukee Normal Institute and High School in 1850. Mary Lyon was founder of Mount Holyoke College, which is the recent name in 1837. Holyoke is one of the oldest colleges in America and "'based entirely on Christian principles'" (Sullivan 15). Willard, Beecher and Lyon provided secondary schooling to learn and build upon teaching skills. The school provided a better meaning for young girl's roles in society.
Due to more schools for girls being popular it inspired schools to open for African American girls. White girls being educated was refused, but black girls being educated was widely objected too. A lot of the schools for black girls faced strong racism and provided an environment that made students scared for their lives. Prudence Crandall was the first known white lady to try to teach a black girl. Crandall opened an all black girl school, which had 17 students, but afraid for her student's lives she closed it. Lucy C. Lainey founded Haines Normal Institute in Georgia, which later merged with A.R. Johnson High School and became a school named after Lainey. One of the most prestigious girls school was started by two teachers Sophia Packard and Harriet Giles in Massachusetts. The school name is now Spellman College which started out as a school in the basement of the Friendship Baptist Church in 1881. With just 100 dollars, 11 students, a Bible, a pad and pencil formed Spellman College. Today Spellman is the oldest 4 year college for black women. These colleges for black women were harder for white woman during Women's Movement because of the fact that they was against racism and sexism.
Indeed, that the Women's Movement of the 1920s or even important events leading to the 1920s provided the artillery needed to fume The New Feminism of the 1960s. During this era it was known to be a seed sown that grew the foundation for today's present. Kennedy which was put into office in 1961 and was a supporter for women equality formed the Commission on the Status of Women. Kennedy's wife Eleanor Kennedy was the chairperson of the foundation working on human rights. The final report from the Commission on the Status of Women in 1963 listed all the injustices that women had to deal with in America. The main result from their effort was the Equal Pay Act passed by Congress in 1963. That same year Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique urged women to reject society view of their roles and attend college and have a career even though it was directed to white, well educated, middle class women. Friedan's work inspired more than just women to attend college and make a career.
Particularly, the Feminine Mystique gave new life into the movement of the 1960s. Friedan's work inspired the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 that outlawed discrimination in public places and jobs. The Civil Rights Bill also provided African Americans as a whole the right to vote. Two years later in 1966, the National Organization for Women, NOW, was formed. NOW maintains that no discrimination would be allowed on the basis of sex. NOW is compared to the Seneca Falls Convention because it shares the same values with the sexes sharing politics and careers. NOW said, "We believe that a true partnership between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage, an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children and of the economic burdens of support," (Sullivan 69). The New Feminism of 1960 grew to be the foundation to women's rights and personal salvation.
Furthermore, when women were given more equality it gave a sense of opportunity. This was opportunity that women took in the late 1900s. Ella Grasso was known for being the first women to become governor in Connecticut in the U.S. in 1974 and was also the first to be re-elected in 1978. Sally Ride was the first female in space on June 18, 1883 on the space shuttle Challenger. Another famous astronaut is Dr. Mae Jemison was the first black female astronaut that was launched into space in 1987. These are just some out of many females that made a difference from the Women Movements of the past to change these women future.
For instance, the women of the late 1900s opened opportunity for women today. Threw women's history it's been a ladder that women as a whole climbed since the 1850s. Women taking chances gave opportunity to women in the year 2010. Women are in a variety of career fields, entertainment and politics. The Women's Movement brought opportunities, but still not equal. Today women are still being paid less than men, but they are proving everyday that they have the power to change to be successful with any obstacles that stand in their way.
In conclusion, the Women's Movement starting in the 1920s brought opportunities that were not granted during that time. Women proved to be more valuable as an equal than as an inferior sex. With their advances in education, fashion, movements, responsibility and strong will they became a force to be reckon with. In this time women proved more than they can hold their own. Women in the future generations will have advantages and chances as a result of the Women's Movement of the 1920s.
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