Women’sIssuesNot in your text bookBut it should be
Women’s Rights•For most women at the start of the 20thCentury the only role in society they wereconsidered competent to carry out was that of wife and mother.•Many societies kept women out of the public eye altogether• In Muslim lands women were kept in Purdah (hiding their faces and bodies fromthe eyes of strangers• In China little girl’s feet were mutilated to satisfy a male sense of beauty•In India the murder of newborn baby girls and the practice of suttee (widowsburning themselves alive on their husband’s funeral pyres) secretly continueddespite the attempts of the British to control these practices•In the Western world men’s attitude towards women differed tremendouslybased on the social standing of the woman in question•With few exceptions women’s influence was restricted to the home• Only in Australia(1902), New Zealand(1893) and Finland did women have the right tovote before 1910
Changes in the 20thCentury• The 20thCentury resulted in a remarkable amount of change inthe status of women and their influence in society.• The industrial revolution created work in factories and gavewomen the opportunity for paid employment in factories,shops and schools• Artificial methods of contraception offered women the abilityto limit the number of years they would spend in the bearingand rearing of children• Women began to demand the right to control their ownproperty• More politically minded women began to organize the fightfor the right to vote and the suffragette movement was born
The Woman’s movement pre1900• 1874 The Women’s Christian Temperance Union: Formed originally topromote the prohibition of alcohol; later joined forces with the Canadianand American Suffrage Association• 1867 In Britain John Stuart Mill put his case to Parliament for femalesuffrage. Parliament passed Parliamentary Reform Act giving the vote tomany working class men.• London Society for Womens Suffrage formed to campaign for femalesuffrage.• 1870 The Married Women’s Property Act allows married women to owntheir own property. Previously, when women married, their propertytransferred to their husbands. Divorce heavily favoured men, allowingproperty to remain in their possession. This act allows women to keeptheir property, married, divorced, single or widowed
The Women’s Movement in Britain• Womens suffrage in the United Kingdom as a national movement began in1872.• Women were not formally prohibited from voting in the United Kingdom untilthe 1832 Reform Act and the 1835 Municipal Corporation Act. Both beforeand after 1832 establishing womens suffrage on some level was a politicaltopic• It would not be until 1872 that it would become a national movement with theformation of the National Society for Womens Suffrage and later the moreinfluential National Union of Womens Suffrage Societies. Little victory wasachieved in this constitutional campaign in its earlier years up to around 1905.It was at this point that the militant campaign began with the formation of theWomens Social and Political Union.• The outbreak of the First World War led to a halting of almost all campaigning,but some argue that it was the competence of women war workers that led tothe extension of the franchise to single women over the age of 30 in 1918;providing they were householders, married to a householder or if they held auniversity degree. Universal suffrage for all adults over 21 years of age was notachieved until 1928.
Suffrage movement in Britain: A Timeline• 1870 Married Womens Property Act allowed married women to owntheir own property - until this point all womens property belonged to thehusband. Elementary Education Act passed, which allowed womenratepayers (property owners) to vote for and serve in school boards.• 1897 Formation of NUWSS - National Union of Womens SuffrageSocieties (the main Suffragist movement) - under leadership of MillicentFawcett.• 1903 Formation of WSPU - Womens Social and Political Union (the mainSuffragette movement) - under Emmeline Pankhurst.• 1904 Beginnings of militant action. Emmeline Pankhurst disrupted aLiberal Party meeting in Manchester• 1905 First arrests of Suffragettes for disrupting a Liberal Party meeting.• 1910 In June an All Party Committee of MPs put forward a Conciliation Billto give some women the vote. The Bill was passed by the House ofCommons but then dropped when another election was called inNovember. Furious Suffragettes stepped up their campaign of violenceresulting in many clashes with police and arrests
Militant action by British Suffragettes• 1905, 1908, 1913 – 3 phases of WSPU militancy (CivilDisobedience – Destruction of Public Property –Arson/Bombings)• 5 July 1909 – Marion Wallace Dunlop went on the first hungerstrike – was released after 91 hours of fasting• September 1909 – Force feeding introduced to resistors inprisons• 1910 – Lady Constance Lytton disguised herself as a workingclass seamstress, Jane Wharton, and was arrested andendured force feeding to prove prejudice in prisons againstworking class women. Lady Lytton was instrumental inreforming conditions in prisons. The force feeding probablyshortened her life considerably
The Right to vote in the USA: The role of Susan B Anthony• Dates: February 15, 1820 -March 13, 1906 Occupation: activist, reformer,teacher, lecturer• Known for: key spokesperson for the 19th century womens suffrage movement• Susan B. Anthony: At 29 Anthony became involved in abolitionism and thentemperance. A friendship with Amelia Bloomer led to a meeting with ElizabethCady Stanton, who was to become her lifelong partner in political organizing,especially for womens rights and woman suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton,served as the writer and idea-person of the two, and Susan B. Anthony,, wasmore often the organizer and the one who traveled, spoke widely, and bore thebrunt of antagonistic public opinion. After the Civil War, discouraged that thoseworking for "Negro" suffrage were willing to continue to exclude women fromvoting rights, Susan B. Anthony became more focused on woman suffrage. Shehelped to found the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, and in 1868 withStanton as editor, became publisher of Revolution. Stanton and Anthony foundedthe National Woman Suffrage Association, larger than its rival American WomanSuffrage Association, associated with Lucy Stone• Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion. She blamed men, laws and the "doublestandard" for driving women to abortion because they had no other options.("When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, byeducation or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged." 1869) She believed,as did many of the feminists of her era, that only the achievement of womensequality and freedom would end the need for abortion. Anthony used her anti-abortion writings as yet another argument for womens rights.
Effect of WWI on the Women’sMovement• As men went to fight in WWI women took over their civilianjobs• Men protested women doing work in engineering andmunitions works, on railways and buses, but there simplywere not enough men to do these jobs during the war, sowomen had to fill in• In Britain women’s organizations (who, pre-war, were alreadydemanding the right to vote) began to demand “the right toserve”• The war undermined many old fashioned prejudices aboutwomen as the weaker, inferior and gentler sex
Suffrage and the Right to vote• By the 1930’s women had the right to vote in theUSA, Canada, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands,Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the USSRand all the Scandinavian countries
Beyond WWI• The following year, the womens suffragemovement made great advances and womenbecame eligible for election to the House ofCommons. In 1921, Agnes Macphail becamethe first woman to be elected to the House.
Women workingduring WW1,while theirhusbands foughtoverseas.
Women’s Rights in Canada: The Person’s Case• Emily Murphy was at the centre of one of Canada’smost famous cases regarding the rights of women.• This is known as the Persons case• Emily was appointed magistrate of the police court inEdmonton.• Making her the first female judge in the British Empire.• She was challenged by a defense lawyer on the groundsthat she could not stand in judgment against anyone asunder the terms of the Canadian Constitution EmilyMurphy was not legally a person, because she was awoman.
The Fight• Legally this was true. In 1920, however the supreme Court ofAlberta ruled that every woman had the right to be a judge.• This inspired a group of women to petition Prime MinisterRobert Borden for a woman to be appointed to the Senate.• They were refused on the grounds that women were notpersons under the B.N.A act and were therefore not eligiblefor the Senate. By law any group of five citizens can petitionthe Supreme court of Canada for the interpretation of a pointin the B.N.A act. A group of women who would becomeknown as the “Famous Five” or the “Alberta Five” petitionedOttawa to determine if under the Act women were persons.
Persons Under the Law• The decision of the courts was that: Under Britishcommon law the status of women is this… “Womenare persons in matters of pains and penalties, but arenot persons in matters of rights and privileges” Afterweeks of deliberating the Supreme Court delivered aunanimous ruling. Since women did not have thevote in 1867, they were not eligible to becomesenators. So women were not considered “qualifiedpersons”
Continuing the fight• Discouraged but not defeated EmilyMurphy and the “Famous Five” (NellieMcClung, Louise Mc Kinney, HenriettaEdwards and Irene Parlby) decided toappeal the decision to the Privy Councilin London.
Victory• In October 1929, the Privy Council in London(the highest court of appeal in Canada at thattime) reversed the decision of Canada’sSupreme court by declaring that “the wordpersons includes members of the male andfemale sex… and that women are eligible tobe summoned and become members of theSenate of Canada.” The ruling noted thatexcluding women from the term person was a“relic of days more barbarous than ours”
Changing role of women in Society• Progress can be measured in a variety of ways• The right to vote• Opportunities for employment outside the home• The availability of artificial means of contraception• And the mass production of appliances• Most of the progress for women was achieved inWestern societies but not all were adopted as goalsthroughout the world
Women in Society• By the mid 1980’s the right to vote was commonplace in mostof the world• That did not give women the power to change the societies inwhich they lived• Few women were elected to parliaments and even fewerbecame members of governments in either the Western orCommunist world• Between 1945 and 1985 only four women gained supremepolitical power in their own countries• Mrs. Indira Gandhi in India• Mrs. Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka• Mrs. Golda Meir in Israel• Mrs. Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain
The struggle for equality continues• In industrialized countries women’s employment was boosted by thegrowth in the numbers of service jobs• In China, the Soviet Union and other Communist countries women wererecruited for work of all kinds, including heavy manual tasks• By 1974 roughly sixty million Soviet women had jobs outside their homes• Nearly 85% of all women of working age• In the US about 50% of women had jobs outside the home by the 1970’s• In Communist nations equal pay for equal work was firmly established asa principle• In Britain in the mid 1970’s female workers were granted equal pay and itbecame illegal to discriminate against women in appointments to jobs• The Catholic church still forbade the use of Birth Control, however mostother western women became able to determine the number ofpregnancies they would experience in their life times, by the 1960’s• In Communist nations they availability of both abortion and birth controlvaried based on what the state felt was necessary
Birth Control and Abortion• Most developing countries began to organize publiccampaigns for Birth Control as populations increasedand began to outstrip food supplies and thedevelopment of public services• There has been a lot of resistance to family planninginitiatives, especially in lands where infant mortalityrates are still high or where there was no realprospect that one fewer child to feed or educatewould make a real difference to their standard ofliving
Birth Control and Abortion in Britain• In Britain: 1967 Labour MP David Steel sponsors an AbortionLaw Reform Bill, which becomes the Abortion Act. The Actdecriminalizes abortion in Britain on certain grounds.Originally, abortion was entirely illegal, but was changed tomake it legal when the woman was in danger of dying.However, in 1938, Dr. Alex Bourne deliberately challengedthe law to clarify what constituted legal practice in relation toabortions. He performed an abortion on a 14-year-old rapevictim, though her life was not in danger. The doctor won andthe ‘Bourne Judgment’ opened the way for other doctors tointerpret the law more flexibly.• 1967 The contraceptive pill becomes available through FamilyPlanning Clinics. Act permits health authorities to givecontraceptive advice regardless of marital status
Abortion in the USA• 1967: Colorado Gov. John A. Love signs the first "liberalized" ALI-model abortionlaw in the United States, allowing abortion in cases of permanent mental orphysical disability of either the child or mother or in cases of rape or incest. Similarlaws are passed in California, Oregon, and North Carolina.• 1970: New York allows abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy, asGov. Nelson A. Rockefeller signs a bill repealing the states 1830 law that bannedabortion after quickening except to save a womans life. Similar laws are passed inAlaska, Hawaii, and Washington state.1971: The U.S. Supreme Court rules on its first case involving abortion in UnitedStates v. Vuitch, upholding a District of Columbia law permitting abortion only topreserve a womans life or "health." However, the Court makes it clear that by"health" it means "psychological and physical well-being," effectively allowingabortion for any reason.
Abortion in the USA: Roe v. Wade• 1972 By years end a total of 13 states have an ALI-type law. Four states allowabortion on demand. Mississippi allows abortion for rape and incest (1966)– Alabama allows abortion for the mothers physical health .– However, 31 states allow abortion only to save the mothers life.• In 1973 The U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in Roe v. Wade, finding that a"right of privacy" it had earlier discovered was "broad enough to encompass" aright to abortion and adopting a trimester scheme of pregnancy.• In the first trimester, a state could enact virtually no regulation. In the secondtrimester, the state could enact some regulation, but only for the purpose ofprotecting maternal "health." In the third trimester, after viability, a state couldostensibly "proscribe" abortion, provided it made exceptions to preserve the lifeand "health" of the woman seeking abortion.• Issued on the same day, Doe v. Bolton defines "health" to mean "all factors"that affect the woman, including "physical, emotional, psychological, familial,and the womans age.“• May 14: The National Right to Life Committee is incorporated.
The Pill• The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP), often referredto as the birth-control pill, or simply "the pill", is a birthcontrol method.• First approved for contraceptive use in the United States in1960.• They are currently used by more than 100 million womenworldwide and by almost 12 million women in the UnitedStates.• Usage varies widely by country, age, education, and maritalstatus
The Pill Continued• The Pill was approved by the FDA in the early 1960s; its use spread rapidlyin the late part of that decade, generating an enormous social impact.• Time Magazine placed the pill on its cover in April, 1967.• The pill was more effective than most previous reversible methods ofbirth control, giving women unprecedented control over their• The choice to take the Pill was a private one. This combination of factorsserved to make the Pill immensely popular within a few years of itsintroduction.[• Claudia Goldin, among others, argue that this new contraceptivetechnology was a key player in forming womens modern economic role,in that it prolonged the age at which women first married allowing themto invest in education and other forms of human capital as well asgenerally become more career-oriented.• Soon after the birth control pill was legalized, there was an increase incollege attendance and graduation rates for women. From an economicpoint of view, the birth control pill reduced the cost of staying in school.• The ability to control fertility without sacrificing sexual relationships gavewomen more control over long term educational and career plans.
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