The First Wave Of Feminism

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Elizabeth Stanton sparked the initial feminist movement in the United States in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention. However, the racial turmoil that approached the United States during the coming decades caused the tabling of gender inequality. The Progressive era of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought the resurgence of the Women 's Rights Movement. The organizations involved in the first wave of feminism focused on women 's suffrage and succeeded in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The 19th Amendment signified both the end of a 72 year battle for women 's suffrage, as well as the end of the first wave of women 's rights. During the next two decades, equality for women found itself at a standstill. Other than …show more content…
After gaining political rights in the 1920 's and then workplace rights during World War II and the post war era, feminists continued to contend for greater equality. Through Betty Friedan 's questioning the roles of women in society in her novel, she sparked the 1960 's into a movement much greater than its predecessor. Her novel discussed how the suburban wife struggled with "a sense of dissatisfaction... As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay besides her husband at night – she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question – ‘Is this all?’” (Friedan). Friedan voiced what she believed middle class women felt about their place in society based upon her own experiences. The publishing of the book furthered the radical campaign of feminism. During the second wave of feminism, the Civil Rights Act was also enacted. Although this act is most known for its anti racial discrimination, the act also includes a prohibition to gender discrimination. Due to its greater focus on race, the Civil Rights Act did not greatly further the feminist movement. In 1966 the National Organization of Women (NOW) was formed. NOW focused on all gender based discrimination including education, employment and culture. The organization created a Statement of Purpose which they hoped would put an end to gender discrimination: “the power of American law, and the protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to the civil rights of all individuals, must be effectively applied and enforced to isolate and remove patterns of sex discrimination, to ensure equality of opportunity in employment and education, and equality of civil and political rights and responsibilities on behalf of women” (United States). Their statement demonstrates

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