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The Suffrage Movement - Essay Example

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If we win it, this hardest of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be made easier for women all over the world to win in their fight when their time comes" - this famous statement made by Emmeline Pankhurst in one of the greatest speeches of the last century delivered in Hartford, Connecticut on November 13, 1913 reflected the spirit of those days when for the first time in history European and American women made an attempt to eliminate gender discrimination…
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The Suffrage Movement
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Download file to see previous pages Early Greek and Roman laws treated women as children, forever inferior to men, unable to take care of themselves without men's control. The Christian tradition perpetuated Greek and Roman views on the natural inferiority of women. Thus St. Jerome, a 4th-century Latin father of the Christian church, said "Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word a perilous object" while Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Christian theologian, reduced the role of women to reproduction only claiming woman was "created to be man's helpmeet, but her unique role is in conception . . . since for other purposes men would be better assisted by other men" (Frost et al, 1992, p.22). Given the influence of Christian tradition in both Europe and Americas, the inferior status of women became the unquestionable norm in social, political and economic life. Evidently, any attempt to change this norm would inevitable become an immensely difficult task, 'the hardest of all fights' as reasonably observed Emmeline Pankhurst.
Throughout most of the modern history women always have had fewer leg...
Only in the last century women in most countries won the right to vote and partially changed traditional views concerning their role in society. This largely was the result of long and difficult struggle of feminist movements for the natural rights of women.
The movement for women's rights was given the name of suffrage movement or suffragette. Originally this word was coined by the Daily Mail newspaper as a derogatory term toward women's movement in the United Kingdom. Although this term was originally used in relation to the radical wing of the suffrage movement led by Emmeline Pankhurst (the Women's Social and Political Union) eventually its meaning became broader to include all members of the movement for women's rights. Members of the movement organized various actions such as chaining themselves to railings, hunger strikes, putting mailbox contents on fire, smashing windows and on occasions setting off bombs (Rover, 1967, p.5).
Eventually, a substantial shortage of men during the First World War forced women to take tasks and roles that had been traditionally considered as men's, which led to further positive transformations of attitude toward women. As a result, in the aftermath of the war the Parliament of passed the Representation of the People Act 1918 that granted voting rights to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of 5, and graduates of British universities. And it took only a decade for the UK women to obtain the same right as men (Rover, 1967).
In the United Stated, women also initiated an organized campaign for equal status with men with Elizabeth Cady Stanton being the leading theoretician of the women's rights movement. Her famous book 'Woman's Bible', ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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