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Essays About Womens Rights

The women's rights movement of the mid-nineteenth century unified women around a number of issues that were seen as fundamental rights for all citizens; they included: the right to own property, access to higher education, reproductive rights, and suffrage. Women's suffrage was the most controversial women's rights issue of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and divided early feminists on ideological lines. After women secured the right to vote in 1917, the women's rights movement lost much of its momentum. World War I and II encouraged women to do their patriotic duty by entering the workforce to support the war effort. Many women assumed they would leave the working world when men returned from service, and many did. However, other women enjoyed the economic benefits of working outside the home and remained in the workforce permanently. After WWII, the women's rights movement had difficulty coming together on important issues. It was not until the socially explosive 1960s that the modern feminist movement would be re-energized. In the four decades since, the women's movement has tackled many issues that are considered discriminatory toward women including: sexism in advertising and the media, economic inequality issues that affect families, and violence against women. Two ongoing issues in which women seek social change are those having to do with wage discrimination and reproductive health.

Sex, Gender & Sexuality

Overview

Women's Rights

Like any almost every other modern social movement, the women's rights movement comprises diverse ideals. Feminist and American responses to the movement have generally fallen along three lines:

* Staunch opposition to change;

* Support of moderate and gradual change; and

* Demand for immediate radical change (Leone, 1996).

The women's rights movement rose during the nineteenth century in Europe and America in response to great inequalities between the legal statuses of women and men. During this time, advocates fought for suffrage, the right to own property, equal wages, and educational opportunities (Lorber, 2005).

In the United States, suffrage proved to be one of the driving issues behind the movement. However, when the movement first began, many moderate feminists saw the fight for voting rights as radical and feared that it would work against their efforts to reach less controversial goals such as property ownership, employment, equal wages, higher education, and access to birth control. The divide between moderate and radical feminists started early in America's history and continues to be present in the women's movement (Leone, 1996).

Suffrage

First proposed as a federal amendment in 1868, women's suffrage floundered for many years before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. It was 1917 when the National Woman's Party (NWP) met with President Woodrow Wilson and asked him to support women's suffrage. When the women were dismissed by Wilson, members of the party began a picket at the White House. Their protest lasted 18 months. Harriot Stanton Blatch, the daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul were among the first organizers of the picket. However, the picket was not supported by the older and more conservative women's rights group, the National American Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Its members saw the picket as somewhat "militant" and sought to win suffrage state by state rather than through a federal amendment (Leone, 1996).

America's involvement in World War I during the spring of 1917 affected the women's suffrage movement in a number of ways. The NWP refused to support the war effort, while NAWSA saw support of the war as an act of patriotism and a way to further women's rights issues. The differences between the two groups led to hostility that continued until August of 1919 when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. Both the NWP and NAWSA claimed responsibility for the passage of the amendment. Historians disagree about which party was most influential. Many credit the combination of militant and moderate strategies that were employed by each group (Leone, 1996).

After the women's suffrage movement, some men and women considered the fight for women's rights to be over. Many of the organizations that had been so active in promoting suffrage disbanded after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified. Though some women's suffrage groups did continue as organizations--namely, the League of Women Voters--the feminist movement sputtered without a unifying cause (Leone, 1996). The Great Depression of the 1930s further hurt the women's movement: most women simply did not have the time or energy to dedicate to feminist causes. With America's entry into World War II, many women entered the workforce for the first time. However, this entry was accompanied by the assumption that women would exit the workforce once American men returned from service. Postwar America saw a steep decline in participation in the women's rights movement. The numbers of women attending college dropped during the 1950s as women married earlier and had more children.

Applications

The women's rights movement re-formed during the 1960s as the women's liberation movement (Lorber, 2005). The period would mark the "revitalization of feminism" (Leone, 1996).

According to Judith Lorber, twentieth-century feminism was more fragmented than nineteenth-century feminism, perhaps as a result of deeper understandings of the sources of gender inequality (Lorber, 2005). In the twenty-first century, there are still many issues that challenge women's economic and political status in the world, and women of all kinds are fighting many battles on many fronts.

Challenges to gender equality occur in many ways. Some of the most commonly recognized issues are:

* Education: Men tend to have higher educational attainments, though in the US and Western world this gap is rapidly closing.

* Wages and Employment: Men occupying the same jobs as women tend to be paid more, promoted more frequently, and receive more recognition for their accomplishments.

* Health Care: In some countries, men have more access to and receive better health care than women.

* Violence and Exploitation: Women are subjected to violence and exploitation at greater rates than men.

* Social Inequality: Women still perform the majority of domestic duties such as housework and child care (Lorber, 2005).

Issues

Educational Attainment

Women's unimpeded access to educational opportunities is strongly supported by feminists. The gap in educational attainment is shrinking rapidly in the industrialized world, and the gap in the US is quite small. However, lack of education still hurts women in fundamental ways, the most obvious being economic. This essay will discuss in more detail the gender wage gap that exists in the US. While education does increase a women's earning potential, research suggests that a definite and pervasive gender wage gap exists at every level of the workforce.

Gender Pay Gap

A "gendered division of labor" exists across the globe. A 1980 United Nations report stated that women performed two thirds of the world's work, garnered 10% of wages worldwide, and owned 1% of the world's property (Lorber, 2005). Even in the early twenty-first century, the workplaces of industrialized nations continue to demonstrate a curious paradox. While research shows that companies that encourage diversity and promote women to leadership roles have higher levels of financial performance than companies with less diversity, women's earnings are still significantly less than men's (Compton, 2007).

Great Britain, like the US, has grappled with the existence of the gender pay gap for many years. The US passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and Great Britain instituted its own Equal Pay Act in 1970. Both of these acts "offered women a legitimate avenue to seek remuneration for unequal pay"(Compton, 2007, 1(20). In 1970, the pay differential in Great Britain between men and women's wages was 30%. Nearly five decades later, in 2008, the gender pay gap still hovered around 17% and was the highest of all EU countries (De Vita, 2008). Some project that the disparity in wages will not be eliminated until around the year 2030 (De Vita, 2008). The question remains, if women are legally guaranteed equal pay, and if promoting women is generally recognized as good for business, why do women still earn less than men? The causes of the gender wage gap are various and complex.

The fact that many women choose to leave their jobs in order to have children is often identified as one reason for the wage gap. Proponents of this theory argue that, statistically, women earn less than men because some women do not hold paying, full-time jobs, thus dragging down women's average wages. However, most studies of the wage gap only count the earnings of women who work full-time. These studies reveal that of the women who do work full-time, those with children under the age of 18 earn 5 percent lower wages per hour per child than women who do not have children earn (Correll, 2013). In Great Britain, by age forty, men who have...

How to Write an Essay on Women Rights

Women rights are the entitlements claimed for women and girls in the society. These rights go beyond the right to vote or even own property. For the past years women have been struggling to be considered individuals in their own right, defined by their own terms and by their own intellect and accomplishments, not their gender. They have fought to be accorded the same respect as their male counterparts politically, legally, in the office, in education opportunities and even in their own families. This struggle did not start yesterday. A woman is a symbol of love, independence, care and emotional intensity, be it love or hate. That is why any issue involving her is very sensitive and must be handled critically including how to write an essay on women rights.

How to start an essay on women’s rights

An essay on women rights has to be written based on facts because it is something that has, is and will still affect the world in one way or another. The introduction of this essay has to grab the audience’s attention fully. Start with startling facts, either a statistical finding or a statement about women. It does not have to be new to your readers and can even be put in form of a question then add a sentence or two to elaborate. An example of such could be, “Did you know that American women who were jailed for demonstrating for the right to vote were force fed in prisons when they went for hunger strikes?” (WHMN, 2007) This question is enough to make your audience want to know more of what you are talking about. A few sentences explaining the topic in general terms can also act as an introduction as it gently leads your audience to your thesis statement. Definitions of key words like woman, rights and women rights in general come in handy. A brief overview on women rights, the struggle and how the society portrays women also contribute to a detailed introduction. The thesis statement should fall in the last line so that the ideas in the following paragraphs can flow based on it. An example of a thesis statement is, “women’s lives have drastically changed from having almost no freedom in the past to having a say in society today.”

How to write body for an essay on women’s rights

In order to have a free flow of ideas, a rough draft of the main points to be discussed in each paragraph has to be made. The body’s paragraphs have the same structure. Start by writing down the first point of your discussion in sentence form. This forms the topic sentence which is the basis of the paragraph. If your main idea is “religious perspective of women rights” then you can begin your paragraph by saying “women are viewed as God’s special gift to man”. Supporting statements should come thereafter with very clear and convincing elaborations. In this case, for example, quoted Bible or Quran verses can act as supporting statements that you can elaborate with your own words in three to five sentences. Correct use quotes and anecdotes appeals more to the hearts of the audience.  If you wish, include a summary statement at the end of the discussion.

How to conclude an essay on women’s rights

The conclusion brings closure to the reader by summing up all the points discussed. It also provides a final perspective on the topic.  Consider beginning your conclusion with a lead- in phrase but avoid the over used, clichéd and stiff terms like, “in conclusion” and “in closing”. All the main points discussed in the body are to be summarized in the last paragraph. The points, however, should be rephrased and not written word for word. Reintroduce the thesis statement in different words even if it’s only in passing. Remember, your thesis is your main point of discussion. Be authoritative, stand your ground undoubtedly. Fight for women rights passionately. Appeal to your audience’s emotions. Let your voice be heard clearly through your words. Avoid uncertain language like “I think” or “I am not so sure but” in your writing. Women’s rights are real issues, full of factual information and statistics. Do not apologize for your great ideas on women rights or use heavily- qualifying language. This is an issue that affects the whole world. If need be include a call to action. Convince people to change how they view women. Make them appreciate their role in their lives and in the society at large. All in all, the essay conclusion has to be short and straight to the point.

Outline Sample

An outline is a blueprint for your essay. With it, you can easily organize your thoughts. The outline page must include the title which is Women rights, the thesis statement, major points indicated by roman numerals and supporting statements indicated by capital letters. The first Roman numeral is the introduction and the last one is the conclusion. Below is a sample outline for an essay on women rights.

Introduction

  • Start with facts and figures explaining women rights in detail
  • Start with startling facts, either a statistical finding or a statement about women.
  • You may also quote a notable figure inn history who championed for women rights.
  • Come up with a catchy thesis statement that attracts your readers’ attention.

Body paragraphs

  • Start with relevant topic sentences
  • Following the topic sentences, are supportive sentences that should have detailed arguments supporting women’s rights.
  • Correct use quotes and anecdotes appeals more to the hearts of the audience
  • If you wish, include a summary statement at the end of every discussion.

Conclusion

  • This is a summary of the main ideas and arguments discussed.
  • Be sure to include recommendations on how women rights can be upheld.

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