An Integral Struggle within the Civil Rights Movement: Women’s Rights Movement
The Historical Context of the Women’s Rights Movement
The women’s rights movement was a movement that took place in the 1960s and was overlooked by many. This was because there were so many other things going on during this time. Vietnam, anti-war protests, and the civil rights movement are just a few of the many other things that occurred during this very chaotic and hectic time period. While the women’s rights movement was disregarded for the most part, it was still a very important step for The United States.
The women’s rights movement was originally focused on dismantling workplace inequality. This included things such as the denial of access to better jobs and salary inequity, which are known as anti-discrimination laws. Other branches of women’s rights sought to gain equality for women on both a political and personal level. While the women’s rights movement began in the 1960s, it still continues today. This is because men and women are still not entirely equal.
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Many people wonder why the women’s rights movement is still occurring today. They assume that everything that needed to be done for this movement would have been done over 50 years ago when the movement started. With this said, it can be argued that both good and bad things came out of this very long-lasting movement.
Progress and Controversies: The Dual Sides of the Women’s Movement
There are many arguments about the women’s rights movement. The biggest probably was the controversy between what was positive and what was negative. While there were many positives, nothing came for free. In other words, these positive things were accompanied by negative things. Some of the many positives for women included that they could now have jobs outside of their homes, and they could finally vote and work alongside men. They were no longer required to stay home and tend to the house, cleaning, and caring for the children.
Women were finally seen as actual human beings rather than as an accessory to men and their families. They were allowed to have an education rather than being considered to not need one because they were only permitted to stay at home. They were also granted the freedom to own and run businesses without their husband’s consent. These were all great steps towards the goal for women, but were they really enough?
Persisting Inequalities: The Wage Gap and Gender Discrimination
While women are now able to work alongside men, they are still not treated the same as men are. There are still several discriminations against women. For starters, men are more likely to be hired than women, but setting this aside, even if a woman is hired over a man, she is treated very differently. Women are paid much less than men, which is a huge problem. This is one of the main reasons why, today, there are still thousands of men and women marching in order for women to have the rights that they deserve. It is proven that for the same exact job, a man is paid more than a woman.
A woman is only paid 79 cents, while a man is paid a full dollar. This is even less for women of color or races other than white. For example, black women are only paid 54 cents when a man is paid a full dollar. This difference in pay for men and women adds up over time. For example, if a white man made $1,000, a white woman would only earn $790. That means that they are getting paid over $200 less for the same exact job. A white man’s average annual income is about $90,761, and a white woman’s average annual income is only about $50,756. This is a major difference. This problem was supposed to be fixed by the Equal Rights Amendment, but it was never able to do its job.
The Equal Rights Amendment: The Unfulfilled Promise of Gender Equality
Some issues today that women are fighting to fix include topics such as abortion, abuse, and much more. There is a lot of controversy about whether or not women should be permitted to have abortions. This is because many see it as killing a person. With this said, many of the opinions that people have concerning abortions have to do with religious thoughts, which is yet another huge issue. This is because it is well known that religion is not supposed to be mixed with politics, hence the church and state law.
Alongside abortions, another huge issue has to do with abuse. This can be of any kind, physical, mental, sexual, etc. Women of today are working very hard to prevent so much abuse towards women. One of the biggest steps for this issue is that many women have stepped forward to confront their abusers. This is a step in the right direction, but it is still not nearly enough.
In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment aimed to provide the legal equality of the sexes as well as prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. It was passed through Congress very quickly and then sent to the states to vote. Many of the states jumped on the bandwagon and decided to have the Amendment ratified. This was because there was a lot of negative publicity that arose around the Amendment once it became known across the country. The long seven-year period that it took to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified went by without the Amendment ever being passed.
I believe that if the Equal Rights Amendment was to be passed, then the country may be a more fair and equal place today. There may not be nearly as many issues surrounding the rights of women if the Amendment were to be passed. All of the issues that are still argued and protested today could have been avoided if different steps had been taken years ago. This is because ground rules would have been set through the Equal Rights Amendment, making it impossible for men and women to be treated drastically differently.
Men and women would have all of the same rights be treated equally, be paid equally, and have equal chances at obtaining jobs and other things. The Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 could have been a really helpful amendment for The United States. It is a shame that it was never able to be implemented and enforced. The country could be a much different place today if this Amendment was put into place.
- Fantz, A., Karimi, F., & McLaughlin, E. (2016). “Orlando nightclub shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance” Source: CNN, www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/index.html
- OpenStax. (2016). “U.S. Constitution and Federalism.” Source: OpenStax, openstax.org/details/books/american-government-2e
- Equal Pay Act of 1963. Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, www.eeoc.gov/statutes/equal-pay-act-1963
- “Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) | National Archives.” Source: National Archives, www.archives.gov/historical-docs/era
- “Understanding the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).” Source: National Women’s History Museum, www.womenshistory.org/resources/general/understanding-equal-rights-amendment-era