Women's suffrage in the United States
Women's suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, nationally in 1920. The demand for women's suffrage began to gather strength in the 1840s, emerging from the broader movement for women's rights. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, passed a resolution in favor of women's suffrage despite opposition from some of its organizers, who believed the idea was too extreme. By the time of the first National Women's Rights Convention in 1850, suffrage was becoming an important aspect of the movement's activities; the first national suffrage organizations were established in 1869 when two competing organizations were formed, one led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. After years of rivalry, they merged in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association with Anthony as its leading force.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union, the largest women's organization at that time, was established in 1873 and pursued women's suffrage, giving a huge boost to the movement. Hoping that the U. S. Supreme Court would rule that women had a constitutional right to vote, suffragists made several attempts to vote in the early 1870s and filed lawsuits when they were turned away. Anthony succeeded in voting in 1872 but was arrested for that act and found guilty in a publicized trial that gave the movement fresh momentum. After the Supreme Court ruled against them in 1875, suffragists began the decades-long campaign for an amendment to the U. S. Constitution that would enfranchise women. Much of the movement's energy, went toward working for suffrage on a state-by-state basis. In 1916 Alice Paul formed the National Woman's Party, a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. Over 200 NWP supporters, the Silent Sentinels, were arrested in 1917 while picketing the White House, some of whom went on hunger strike and endured forced feeding after being sent to prison.
Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the two-million-member NAWSA made a national suffrage amendment its top priority. After a hard-fought series of votes in the U. S. Congress and in state legislatures, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U. S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, it states, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Lydia Taft, a wealthy widow, was allowed to vote in town meetings in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756. No other women in the colonial era are known to have voted; the New Jersey constitution of 1776 enfranchised all adult inhabitants who owned a specified amount of property. Laws enacted in 1790 and 1797 referred to voters as "he or she", women voted. A law passed in 1807, excluded women from voting in that state. Kentucky passed the first statewide woman suffrage law in the New Republic Era – allowing any widow or feme sole over 21 who paid property taxes for the new county "common school" system.
This partial suffrage rights for women was not expressed as for whites only. The demand for women's suffrage emerged as part of the broader movement for women's rights. In the UK in 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a pioneering book called A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In Boston in 1838 Sarah Grimké published The Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, circulated. In 1845 Margaret Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a key document in American feminism that first appeared in serial form in 1839 in The Dial, a transcendentalist journal that Fuller edited. Significant barriers had to be overcome, before a campaign for women's suffrage could develop significant strength. One barrier was strong opposition to women's involvement in public affairs, a practice, not accepted among reform activists. Only after fierce debate were women accepted as members of the American Anti-Slavery Society at its convention of 1839, the organization split at its next convention when women were appointed to committees.
Opposition was strong against the idea of women speaking to audiences of both men and women. Frances Wright, a Scottish woman, was subjected to sharp criticism for delivering public lectures in the U. S. in 1826 and 1827. When the Grimké sisters, born into a slave-holding family in South Carolina, spoke against slavery throughout the northeast in the mid-1830s, the ministers of the Congregational Church, a major force in that region, published a statement condemning their actions. Despite the disapproval, in 1838 Angelina Grimké spoke against slavery before the Massachusetts legislature, the first woman in the U. S. to speak before a legislative body. Other women began to give public speeches in opposition to slavery and in support of women's rights. Early female speakers included a Jewish immigrant from Poland. Toward the end of the 1840s Lucy Stone launched her career as a public speaker, soon becoming the most famous female lecturer. Supporting both the abolitionist and women's rights movements, Stone played a major role in reducing the prejudice against women speaking in public.
Opposition remained strong, however. A regional women's rights convention in Ohio in 1851 was disrupted by male opponents. Sojourner Truth, who delivered her famous speech "Ain't I a Woman?" at the convention
History of women in the United Kingdom
History of women in the United Kingdom covers the social and political roles of women in Britain over the last two millennia. Medieval England was a patriarchal society and the lives of women were influenced by contemporary beliefs about gender and authority. However, the position of women varied according to factors including their social class. Henrietta Leyser argues that women had much informal power in their homes and communities, although they were of subordinate to men, she identifies a deterioration the status of women in the Middle Ages, although they retained strong roles in culture and spirituality. Significant gender inequities persisted throughout the period, as women had more limited life-choices, access to employment and trade, legal rights than men. After the Norman invasion, the position of women in society changed; the rights and roles of women became more defined, in part as a result of the development of the feudal system and the expansion of the English legal system. The rights of widows were formally laid down in law by the end of the twelfth century, clarifying the right of free women to own property, but this did not prevent women from being forcibly remarried against their wishes.
The growth of governmental institutions under a succession of bishops reduced the role of queens and their households in formal government. Married or widowed noblewomen remained significant cultural and religious patrons and played an important part in political and military events if chroniclers were uncertain if this was appropriate behaviour; as in earlier centuries, most women worked in agriculture, but here roles became more gendered, with ploughing and managing the fields defined as men's work, for example, dairy production becoming dominated by women. In medieval times, women had responsibility for selling the ale that men all drank. By 1600, men had taken over that role; the reasons include commercial growth, gild formation, changing technologies, new regulations, widespread prejudices that associated female brewsters with drunkenness and disorder. The taverns still use women to serve it, a low-status, low-skilled, poorly remunerated tasks. While the Tudor era presents an abundance of material on the women of the nobility—especially royal wives and queens—historians have recovered scant documentation about the average lives of women.
There has, been extensive statistical analysis of demographic and population data which includes women in their childbearing roles. The role of women in society was, for the historical era unconstrained. England had more well-educated upper class women; the Queen's marital status was a major diplomatic topic. It entered into the popular culture. Elizabeth's unmarried status inspired a cult of virginity. In poetry and portraiture, she was depicted as both, not as a normal woman. Elizabeth made a virtue of her virginity: in 1559, she told the Commons, "And, in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned such a time and died a virgin". Public tributes to the Virgin by 1578 acted as a coded assertion of opposition to the queen's marriage negotiations with the Duc d'Alençon. In contrast to her father's emphasis on masculinity and physical prowess, Elizabeth emphasized the maternalism theme, saying that she was married to her kingdom and subjects.
She explained "I keep the good will of all my husbands — my good people — for if they did not rest assured of some special love towards them, they would not yield me such good obedience," and promised in 1563 they would never have a more natural mother than she. Coch argues that her figurative motherhood played a central role in her complex self-representation and legitimating the personal rule of a divinely appointed female prince. Although medical men did not approve, women healers played a significant role in the medical care of Londoners from cradle to grave during the Elizabethan era, they were hired by hospitals, as well as by private families. They played central roles in the delivery of nursing care as well as medical and surgical services throughout the city as part of organized systems of health care. Women's medical roles continue to expand in the 17th century regarding care of paupers, they operated nursing homes for the homeless and sick poor, looked after abandoned and orphaned children, pregnant women, lunatics.
After 1700, the workhouse movement undermined many of these roles and the parish nurse became restricted to the rearing and nursing of children and infants. Over ninety percent of English women entered marriage in this era at an average age of about 25–26 years for the bride and 27–28 years for the groom. Among the nobility and gentry, the average was around 19-21 for 24-26 for grooms. Many city and townswomen married for the first time in their thirties and forties and it was not unusual for orphaned young women to delay marriage until the late twenties or early thirties to help support their younger siblings, a fourth of all English brides were pregnant at their weddings. In England, Scotland and Ireland there was a succession of Witchcraft Acts starting with Henry VIII's Act of 1542, they governed witchcraft and providing penalties for it
First-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity and thought that occurred during the 19th and early 20th century throughout the Western world. It focused on legal issues on gaining the right to vote; the term first-wave was coined in March 1968 by Martha Lear writing in The New York Times Magazine, who at the same time used the term "second-wave feminism". At that time, the women's movement was focused on de facto inequalities, which it wished to distinguish from the objectives of the earlier feminists. According to Miriam Schneir, Simone de Beauvoir wrote that the first woman to "take up her pen in defense of her sex" was Christine de Pizan in the 15th century. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Modesta di Pozzo di Forzi worked in the 16th century. Marie le Jars de Gournay, Anne Bradstreet and François Poullain de la Barre's Equality of sexes came out in 1673; the period in which Mary Wollstonecraft wrote was affected by Rousseau and the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The father of the Enlightenment defined an ideal democratic society, based on the equality of men, where women were discriminated against.
The inherent exclusion of women from discussion was addressed by both Wollstonecraft, her contemporaries. Wollstonecraft based her work on the ideas of Rousseau. Although at first it seems to be contradictory, Wollstonecraft's idea was to expand Rousseau's democratic society but based on gender equality. Wollstonecraft published one of the first feminist treatises, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in which she advocated the social and moral equality of the sexes, extending the work of her 1790 pamphlet, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, her unfinished novel, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman, earned her considerable criticism as she discussed women's sexual desires. She died young, her widower, the philosopher William Godwin wrote a memoir of her that, contrary to his intentions, destroyed her reputation for generations. Wollstonecraft is regarded as the "fore-mother" of the British feminist movement and her ideas shaped the thinking of the suffragettes, who campaigned for the women's vote.
Early Feminism was directly correlated with the abolitionist movements and as a result many famous feminists and activists began to have their voices heard. Some of these early activists include, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jane Addams, Dorothy Day; the first wave of feminism was led by white women in the middle class, it was not until the second wave of feminism that women of color began developing a voice. The term Feminism was created like a political illustrated ideology at that period. Feminism emerged by the speech about the reform and correction of democracy based on equalitarian conditions; the first wave of Australian feminism, which dates back to the late 19th century, was chiefly concerned with suffrage and with women's access to parliaments and other political activities. In 1882, Rose Scott, a women's rights activist, began to hold a weekly salon meetings in her Sydney home left to her by her late mother. Through these meetings, she became well known amongst politicians, philanthropists and poets.
In 1889, she helped to found the Women's Literary Society, which grew into the Womanhood Suffrage League in 1891. Leading politicians hosted by Scott included Bernhard Ringrose Wise, William Holman, William Morris Hughes and Thomas Bavin, who met and discussed the drafting of the bill that became the Early Closing Act of 1899; the first women's movement was led by the Dansk Kvindesamfund, founded in 1871. Line Luplau was one of the most notable woman in this era. Tagea Brandt was part of this movement, in her honor was established the Tagea Brandt Rejselegat or Travel Scholarship for women; the Dansk Kvindesamfund's efforts as a leading group of women for women led to the existence of the revised Danish constitution of 1915, giving women the right to vote and the provision of equal opportunity laws during the 1920s, which influenced the present-day legislative measures to grant women access to education, marital rights and other obligations. Early New Zealand feminists and suffragettes included Maud Pember Reeves, Kate Sheppard and Mary Ann Müller.
In 1893, Elizabeth Yates became Mayor of Onehunga, the first time such a post had been held by a female anywhere in the British Empire. Early university graduates were Ethel Benjamin; the Female Law Practitioners Act was passed in 1896 and Benjamin was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand in 1897. Although in the Netherlands during the Age of Enlightenment the idea of the equality of women and men made progress, no practical institutional measures or legislation resulted. In the second half of the nineteenth century many initiatives by feminists sprung up in The Netherlands. Aletta Jacobs requested and obtained as the first woman in the Netherlands the right to study at university in 1871, becoming the first female medical doctor and academic, she became a lifelong campaigner for women's suffrage, equal rights, birth control, international peace, travelling worldwide for, e.g. the International Alliance of Women. Wilhelmina Drucker was a politician, a prolific writer and a peace activist, who fought for the vote and equal rights through political and feminist organisations she founded.
In 1917–1919 her goal of women's suffrage was reached. Cornelia Ramondt-Hirschmann, President of the Dutch Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Selma Meyer, Secretary of the Dutch Women's Internat
Feminism is a range of political movements and social movements that share a common goal: to define and achieve the political, economic and social equality of the genders. This includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men. Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, to have maternity leave. Feminists have worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have been part of feminist movements; some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, reproductive rights for women, the right to enter into contracts and own property.
Although feminist advocacy is, has been focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because they believe that men are harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience. Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims; some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, college-educated perspectives. This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism. Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word "féminisme" in 1837; the words "féminisme" and "féministe" first appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872, Great Britain in the 1890s, the United States in 1910, the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1852 as the year of the first appearance of "feminist" and 1895 for "feminism".
Depending on the historical moment and country, feminists around the world have had different causes and goals. Most western feminist historians contend that all movements working to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements when they did not apply the term to themselves. Other historians assert that the term should be limited to the modern feminist movement and its descendants; those historians use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements. The history of the modern western feminist movements is divided into three "waves"; each wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women's suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women's right to vote; the second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women's liberation movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for social equality for women; the third wave is a continuation of, a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism, which began in the 1990s.
First-wave feminism was a period of activity during early twentieth century. In the UK and the US, it focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage and property rights for women. By the end of the 19th century, a number of important steps had been made with the passing of legislation such as the UK Custody of Infants Act 1839 which introduced the Tender years doctrine for child custody arrangement and gave women the right of custody of their children for the first time. Other legislation such as the Married Women's Property Act 1870 in the UK and extended in the 1882 Act, these became models for similar legislation in other British territories. For example, Victoria passed legislation in 1884, New South Wales in 1889, the remaining Australian colonies passed similar legislation between 1890 and 1897. Therefore, with the turn of the 19th century activism had focused on gaining political power the right of women's suffrage, though some feminists were active in campaigning for women's sexual and economic rights as well.
Women's suffrage began in Britain's Australasian colonies at the close of the 19th century, with the self-governing colonies of New Zealand granting women the right to vote in 1893 and South Australia granting female suffrage in 1895. This was followed by Australia granting female suffrage in 1902. In Britain the Suffragettes and the Suffragists campaigned for the women's vote, in 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned property. In 1928 this was extended to all women over 21. Emmeline Pankhurst was the most notable activist in England, with Time naming her one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century stating: "she shaped an idea of women for our time. In the U. S. notable leaders of this movement included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote; these women were influenced by the
A girl is a young female human a child or an adolescent. When she becomes an adult, she is described as a woman; the term girl may be used to mean a young woman, is sometimes used as a synonym for daughter. Girl may be a term of endearment used by an adult a woman, to designate adult female friends; the treatment and status of girls in any society is closely related to the status of women in that culture. In cultures where women have a low societal position, girls may be unwanted by their parents, the state may invest less in services for girls. Girls' upbringing ranges from being the same as that of boys to complete sex segregation and different gender roles; the English word girl first appeared during the Middle Ages between 1250 and 1300 CE and came from the Anglo-Saxon word gerle. The Anglo-Saxon word gerela meaning dress or clothing item seems to have been used as a metonym in some sense; until the late 1400s, the word meant a child of either sex. Girl has meant any young unmarried woman since about 1530.
Its first noted meaning for sweetheart is 1648. The earliest known appearance of girl-friend is in 1892 and girl next door, meant as a teenaged female or young woman with a kind of wholesome appeal, dates only to 1961; the word girl is sometimes used to refer to an adult female a younger one. This usage may be considered derogatory or disrespectful in professional or other formal contexts, just as the term boy can be considered disparaging when applied to an adult man. Hence, this usage is deprecative, it can be used deprecatively when used to discriminate against children. However, girl can be a professional designation for a woman employed as a model or other public feminine representative such as a showgirl, in such cases is not considered derogatory. In casual context, the word has positive uses, it has been used playfully for people acting in an energetic fashion or as a way of unifying women of all ages on the basis of their once having been girls. These positive uses mean gender rather than age.
The status of girls throughout world history is related to the status of women in any culture. Where women enjoy a more equal status with men, girls benefit from greater attention to their needs. Girls' formal education has traditionally been considered far less important than that of boys. In Europe, exceptions were rare before the printing press and the Reformation made literacy more widespread. One notable exception to the general neglect of girls' literacy is Queen Elizabeth I. In her case, as a child she was in a precarious position as a possible heir to the throne, her life was in fact endangered by the political scheming of other powerful members of the court. Following the execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was considered illegitimate, her education was for the most part ignored by Henry VIII. Remarkably, Henry VIII's widow, Catherine Parr, took an interest in the high intelligence of Elizabeth, supported the decision to provide her with an impressive education after Henry's death, starting when Elizabeth was 9.
Elizabeth received an education equal to that of a prominent male aristocrat. England reaped the reward of her rich education when circumstances resulted in her becoming a capable monarch. By the 18th century, Europeans recognized the value of literacy, schools were opened to educate the public in growing numbers. Education in the Age of Enlightenment in France led to up to a third of women becoming literate by the time of the French Revolution, contrasting with half of men by that time. However, education was still not considered as important for girls as for boys, who were being trained for professions that remained closed to women, girls were not admitted to secondary level schools in France until the late 19th century. Girls were not entitled to receive a Baccalaureate diploma in France until the reforms of 1924 under education minister Léon Bérard. Schools were segregated in France until the end of World War II. Since compulsory education laws have raised the education of girls and young women throughout Europe.
In many European countries, girls' education was restricted until the 1970s at higher levels. This was done by teaching different subjects to each sex since tertiary education was considered for males with regard to technical education. For example, prestigious engineering schools, such as École Polytechnique, did not allow women until the 1970s. Many cultures have traditional customs to mark the "coming of age" of a girl or boy, to recognize their transition to adulthood, or to mark other milestones of their journey to maturity as children. Japan has a coming-of-age ritual called Shichi-Go-San, which means "Seven-Five-Three"; this is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15. It is observed on the nearest weekend. On this day, the girl will be dressed in a traditional kimono, will be taken to a temple by her family for a blessing ceremony. Nowadays, the occasion is marked with a formal photo portrait.
Some coming-of-age ceremonies are religious rituals to recognize a girl's maturity with respect to her understanding of religious beliefs, to recognize her changing role in her religious community. Confirmation is a ceremony common to many Christian denominations for bo
Atheist feminism is a branch of feminism that advocates atheism. Atheist feminists hold that religion is a prominent source of female oppression and inequality, believing that the majority of the religions are sexist and oppressive towards women; the first known feminist, an atheist was Ernestine Rose, born in Poland on January 13, 1810. Her open confession of disbelief in Judaism when she was a teenager brought her into conflict with her father and an unpleasant relationship developed. In order to force her into the obligations of the Jewish faith, her father, without her consent, betrothed her to a friend and fellow Jew when she was sixteen. Instead of arguing her case in a Jewish court, she went to a secular court, pleaded her own case, won. In 1829 she went to England, in 1835 she was one of the founders of the British atheist organization Association of All Classes of All Nations, which "called for human rights for all people, regardless of sex, color, or national origin", she lectured in England and America and was described by Samuel P.
Putnam 3 as "one of the best lecturers of her time". He wrote that "no orthodox man could meet her in debate". In the winter of 1836, Judge Thomas Hertell, a radical and freethinker, submitted a married women's property act in the legislature of the state of New York to investigate ways of improving the civil and property rights of married women, to permit them to hold real estate in their own name, which they were not permitted to do in New York. Upon hearing of the resolution, Ernestine Rose drew up a petition and began the soliciting of names to support the resolution in the state legislature, sending the petition to the legislature in 1838; this was the first petition drive done by a woman in New York. Ernestine continued to increase both the number of the petitions and the names until such rights were won in 1848, with the passing of the Married Women's Property Act. Others who participated in the work for the bill included Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Frances Wright, who were all anti-religious.
When Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton analyzed the influences which led to the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights in 1848, they identified three causes, the first two being the radical ideas of Frances Wright and Ernestine Rose on religion and democracy, the initial reforms in women's property law in the 1830s and 1840s. Ernestine joined a group of freethinkers who had organized a Society for Moral Philanthropists, at which she lectured. In 1837, she took part in a debate that continued for thirteen weeks, where her topics included the advocacy of abolition of slavery, women's rights, equal opportunities for education, civil rights. In 1845 she was in attendance at the first national convention of infidels. Ernestine Rose introduced "the agitation on the subject of women's suffrage" in Michigan in 1846. In a lecture in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1851, she opposed calling upon the Bible to underwrite the rights of women, claiming that human rights and freedom of women were predicated upon "the laws of humanity" and that women, did not require the written authority of either Paul or Moses, because "those laws and our claim are prior" to both.
She attended the Women's Rights Convention in the Tabernacle, New York City, on September 10, 1853, spoke at the Hartford Bible Convention in 1854. It was in March of that year that she took off with Susan B. Anthony on a speaking tour to Washington, D. C. Susan B. Anthony arranged Ernestine Rose did all of the speaking. Anthony embarked on her own first lecture tour. In October 1854, Ernestine Rose was elected president of the National Women's Rights Convention at Philadelphia, overcoming the objection that she was unsuitable because of her atheism. Susan B. Anthony supported her in this fight, declaring that every religion—and none—should have an equal right on the platform. In 1856 she spoke at the Seventh National Woman's Convention saying in part, "And when your minister asks you for money for missionary purposes, tell him there are higher, holier, nobler missions to be performed at home; when he asks for colleges to educate ministers, tell him you must educate woman, that she may do away with the necessity of ministers, so that they may be able to go to some useful employment."She appeared again in Albany, New York, for the State Women's Rights Convention in early February 1861, the last one to be held until the end of the Civil War.
On May 14, 1863, she shared the podium with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Antoinette Blackwell when the first Women's National Loyal League met to call for equal rights for women, to support the government in the Civil War "in so far as it makes a war for freedom", she was in attendance at the American Equal Rights Association meeting in which there was a schism and on May 15, 1869 joined with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone to form a new organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association, which fought for both male and female suffrage, taking a position on the executive committee, she died at England, on August 4, 1892, at age eighty-two. The most prominent other people to publicly advocate for feminism and to challenge Christianity in the 1800s were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage. In 1885 Stanton wrote an essay entitled "Has Christianity Benefited Woman?" Arguing that it had in fact hurt women's rights, stating, "All religions thus far have taught the headship and superiority of man, the inferiority and subordina
Women's suffrage in Japan
The women's suffrage in Japan can traces its origin back to democratization brought by Meiji Restoration, blossomed in the 1920s during the Taisho democracy. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the concept of human rights and universal suffrage began to take hold in Japan. During the late 19th century, the first proponents for women's rights advocated, not for political inclusion or voting rights, but for reforms in the patriarchal society oppressing women. Of prime importance to the early feminist movement was the call for women's education. Policymakers believed that this was imperative to the preservation of the state, as it would prepare girls to become effective wives and mothers capable of producing diligent, patriotic sons. Although policymakers did not have the same motives as women's rights advocates in their call for women's education, the availability of education opened the door for further advancements for women in Japanese society; as the idea of women becoming skilled and prudent individuals, whether in the workforce or through education, this modern concept was soon accepted in addition to its interrelationship with excellent and pure motherhood.
The end of the 19th century saw the fight for protection of women from patriarchal cultural practices. Practices such as prostitution and polygamy had long subjected them to abuse, in particular sexually transmitted diseases. Feminists began to oppose both the exclusive provision of civil rights for men and the exclusion of women from politics. Women in Japan were prohibited, by law, from joining political parties, expressing political views, attending political meetings. By 1920, the fight for women's political inclusion was at the forefront of the suffrage movement and, in 1921, the Diet of Japan overruled Article 5 of the Police Security Act by granting women the right to attend political meetings; the ban on women's involvement in political parties was not altered, as many members of the Diet felt that it was selfish for women to forsake their families for government. Feminists were still determined to fight for political equality; the Women's Suffrage League was founded in 1924, the same year that the Japanese government enacted the Men's Suffrage Law, without extending the vote to women.
After women were granted the right to participate in political assemblies, there was a surge in numbers of women's interest groups. Alumni groups, Christian missionary groups, other women's auxiliary groups began to sprout during the inter-war period. After a massive earthquake struck Tokyo in 1923, representatives from 43 of these organizations joined forces to become the Tokyo Federation of Women's Organizations; the federation was designed to serve as disaster relief to aid those affected by the earthquake. To efficiently address the issues affecting women, the Tokyo Federation of Women's Organizations divided into five satellite groups: society, education and employment; the government sector was the most significant, as it spawned the League for the Realization of Women's Suffrage the Women's Suffrage League, which became the most influential and outspoken women's advocacy collective of the era. The government satellite issued a manifesto outlining the abuses Japanese women suffered and how they were to be corrected: 1) It is our responsibility to destroy customs which have existed in this country for the past twenty six hundred years and to construct a new Japan that promotes the natural rights of men and women.
The League, as well as numerous other groups, continued to fight for social and political inclusion, as well as legal protection from the patriarchal traditions that continued in Japan. Women were granted the right to vote in 1946, in part due to pressure from the occupying forces of the United States. Shidzue Katō: As a member of the Japanese Socialist Party, Shidzue Kato was the first woman elected to the Imperial Diet, she spent the majority of her life fighting for women's political rights. She is noted for annulling her marriage and remarrying, an act, rare for women at the time. Fusae Ichikawa: Advocate for women’s political rights. Ichikawa concentrated most of her efforts towards gaining women the right to participate in the voting process and in political parties. With Hiratsuka Raicho, she helped establish the New Woman Association, her involvement extended to the League for Women's Suffrage. Ichikawa traveled to the United States shortly after World War I and observed the advancements American women such as Alice Paul had made in the fight for equality and political rights.
She returned to Japan, remained an outspoken voice for women’s rights, was elected to the Japan’s House of Councillors in the 1950s. Shigeri Yamataka: Worked with Ichikawa in the Women's Suffrage League. After World War II, she was twice elected to the House