Womens Movement Towards Equality




The Women¡¯s Movement Towards Equality
For centuries, all over the world, women have been forced to stand in the shadow of man because they were seen as weak individuals not worthy of equality. And for centuries, all over the world, women have fought to prove them wrong.
In early 15th century Venice, young girls were only give three options for the pathways of their lives when they reached womanhood: marriage, prostitution, or becoming a bride of Christ (a nun). ¡°Marriage placed a woman in virtually the only acceptable position that society allowed¡¦marriage defined the life of a woman.¡± (Ruggiero,11)
Females were seen as sexual beings, which led to numerous cases of sexual violence. ¡°¡¦For society as a whole it seems to have been a wise policy in light of the fact that women, especially women of lesser status, were viewed as inferior and lustful creatures who could change from lover to victim with alarming ease.¡± (Ruggiero, 32) Young girls were often times sexually abused by male family members, friends, and strangers alike. ¡°Virginity was a meaningful ideal for unmarried women; without it a woman could have trouble being accepted into marriage.¡± (Ruggiero, 25) Due to this fact, it was not uncommon for many women to marry their rapists because of the fear of no longer being an acceptable wife to another.
Within the marriage, adultery was also a problematic regular occurrence, an issue that once again divided the levels of responsibility amongst males versus females. Women, during this time, were considered the property of their husbands and therefore any crimes the wife committed were the responsibility of the husband. When it came to adulterous crimes committed by the wife, the husband was also sometimes considered to be at fault. There was an instance during the Renaissance society where a woman ran off with her lover and her husband was blamed because he was constantly traveling in order to support his family monetarily. The courts sustained that because he was too poor to support his wife, she had the right to run off with another man. (Rugerrio, 50-53)
These laws and beliefs were not constricted to the boundaries of Italy. All around the world women were not seen as equal to man, whether it was the value of their honor, the validity of their words, or their level of intelligence. The years have brought about many women that have proved that vision wrong.
During the late 19th century and into the early parts of the 20th
Century, the issue of women¡¯s rights in America became a battle for equality and a tumultuous road to reformation.
In earlier times, the women¡¯s role in American society placed the woman in the home, with her duty to cleaning and bearing children. The occurrence of World War I changed the role of women from homemakers to factory workers. Advertisements everywhere showed women that they could aid the war effort by helping to replace the male jobs that were now vacant. A clear and defiant move from the once ¡°simple¡± role that had been previously embraced.
The Progressive Era in American history marks a period in time where possible solutions to the problems of urbanization, industrialization, and immigration came to light. One significant aspect of this period was the participation and full support of women. Most significantly, however, is the fact that this was a time where the idea of women¡¯s suffrage became a reality. Through organizations such as the Young Women\'s Christian Association, the National Consumers\' League, professional associations, and trade unions, female reformers were at the vanguard of the women\'s suffrage campaign.
There are a number of remarkable women in history who have paved the way for the later female generations:
Jane Addams- Born in 1860, Addams was a progressive social reformer who later became recognized as ¡°the most influential woman in Chicago history.¡± In 1889 she founded the Hull House settlement home in Chicago, which gave housing to immigrants and helped to aid with the social problems of society. In 1931, she became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her international efforts in world peace. She was internationally respected as a social reformer, pacifist, author, peace and suffrage leader. Addams was the first vice-president of the National American Woman