Women’s Rights

Women all across America and across the world live in conditions of hopeless scarcity and attacks against their basic human rights. There is no right or reason for this other than the fact that they are women. Excuses are made, but its based on sex. There are global efforts currently raising awareness, educating everyone, and fighting amnesty for women’s human rights violators. Some may think that women’s rights only affect those who live in countries where religion is law. People need to understand that women’s rights, around the world, are a good indicator of understanding global wellbeing. IT”S HAPPENING IN YOUR HOME TOWN TOO.
Here is a women's demonstration
Betty Friedan


knin175l.jpgMajor events of Women’s Rights Movement:

  • 1921:

    • Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which evolves into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.
  • 1960:

    • The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.
  • 1961:

    • President John Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave and affordable child care.
  • 1963:

    • Betty Friedan publishes her highly influential book The Feminine Mystique, which describes the dissatisfaction felt by middle-class American housewives with the narrow role imposed on them by society. The book becomes a best-seller and galvanizes the modern women’s rights movement.
    • June 10: Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.
  • 1966:

    • The National Organization for Woman (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. The largest women’s rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.

About Civil Rights in the 1960’s

The sixties were the age of youth. Children from the post-war baby boom were now teenagers and young adults. The movement away from the conservative fifties continued and eventually resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real changes in the cultural things of American life. Civil rights mean that everyone has the right to be treated the same regardless of their race, gender, or religion. These rights are law in the United States and many other nations around the world. The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's is often associated with the African American community but it also includes other groups such as immigrant groups (Japanese, Chinese, & Irish), religious groups, and of course, women. Everyone was fighting for there civil rights due to the ideology of the stereotypical white man.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Rosa Parks

Major events of Civil Rights Movement:

  • May 17 1954:
    • The Supreme Court rules on the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, unanimously agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
  • Dec. 1 1955:
    • Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the bus to a white passenger. She is arrested and the Montgomery black community launches a bus boycott, which lasts until the buses are desegregated on Dec. 21, 1956.
  • Sept. 1957:
    • (Little Rock, Ark.) Nine black students are blocked from entering Central High School on the orders of Governor Orval Faubus. President Eisenhower sends federal troops and the National Guard to help the black students.
  • Feb. 1 1960:
    • (Greensboro, N.C.) Four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. They are refused service, but they can still stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South.
  • Oct. 1 1962:
    • James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
  • April 16 1963:
    • Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, he writes the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," arguing that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws.
  • Aug. 28 1963:
    • (Washington, D.C.) About 200,000 people join the March on Washington. Meeting at the Lincoln Memorial, followers listen as Martin Luther King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • July 2 1964:
    • President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Feb. 21 1965:
    • (Harlem, N.Y.) Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot to death.
  • March 7 1965:
    • (Selma, Ala.) Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights but are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by the police. Fifty are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is named "Bloody Sunday" by the media.
  • Aug. 10 1965:
    • Congress passes Voting Rights Act of 1965, Southern blacks can register to vote and requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal.
  • April 4 1968:
    • (Memphis, Tenn.) Martin Luther King, at age 39, is by racist James Earl Ray.
  • April 11 1968:
    • President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

Comparison between the Movements:

Today, the movements of both the civil rights and women’s rights continue. Not only did movements happen in the 1960’s, but racism and sexism are happening all around us, today. In the work place, at school, in the grocery store, in politics, it’s all over and it seems like even today people are unaware of what’s happening. People continue to be discriminate because of both color and sex. Although it is not as severe today as it was in the 1960’s, we still need the ideas and dreams of people like Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make a difference. Everyone deserves the rights a human being is allowed, no matter their sex, race, or religion. The movements of today and the 1960’s, for women’s rights and civil rights, have effected us so everyone can live together without the feeling of inferiority just because they are a female or African American.

Important People of Both Movements

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- was one of the biggest leaders of the American Civil Rights movement. He was a Baptist minister and became a civil rights activist early in his career. He became the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through any and all non-violent means
Rosa Parks- was an African American Civil Rights activist. She is notably known for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to make room for a white passenger. Her experience was a catalyst to Dr. King's ideas and movements.
Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Betty Friedan- was an American feminist activist. She was also a well-known writer. She is best knows for starting the “Second Wave” of feminism through the writing of her book, The Feminine Mystique.

Other Impornant People of the Women's Rights Movement:

  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Lucy Stone
  • Alice Paul
  • Lucy Burns
  • Jeannette Rankin


  • Human rights- the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.
  • Civil rights- rights that are given by nations on those within their territorial boundaries.
  • Natural rights- universal right that is seen as inherent in the nature of ethics and not contingent on human actions or beliefs.
  • Women’s rights- freedoms naturally possessed by women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society.
  • Women's suffrage- the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage — the right to vote — to women.
  • ACLU- a Women’s Rights project working to empower women and advance equality.
  • WRP- (Women’s Rights Project): an organization that works to ensure that women and their families can enjoy the benefits of full equality and participation in every aspect of society.
  • SVAW- (Stop Violence Against Women): helps create a world where women and girls are afforded their basic human rights.
  • Center for Women’s Global Leadership: honors the hundreds of thousands of women activists around the world on Women Human Rights Defenders day.
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)- international convention adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it came into force on September 3, 1981. The Convention defines discrimination against women in the following terms: Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. The United States is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW.
  • Ratification- the act of giving official approval to a formal document such as a treaty or constitution.
  • Male chauvinism- the belief that males are superior to females
  • Egalitarianism- a political doctrine that says all people should be treated as equals from birth. In actual practice, one may be considered an egalitarian in MOST areas. Ex: one might support equal rights in race matters but not in gender issues.
  • Amnesty- an act of justice by which the supreme power in a state restores those who may have been guilty of any offense, against it, to the point of being innocent.

Bibliography start web sites:

"Women's Rights Movement in the US." infoplease. 27 Jan. 2008.

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"Women's Rights." Human Rights Watch. 27 Jan. 2008.
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"About Women's Rights Project." ACLU. 27 Jan. 2008.

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"Women's Human Rights." Amnesty International USA. 27 Jan. 2008.

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Antony, Dan. "Revolutionized Social Expectations For Women." Variety Online. 27 Jan. 2008.
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"Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia." Wikipedia. 27 Jan. 2008.
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"Civil Rights Timeline." InfoPlease. 6 Feb. 2008.
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"Women's Rights Timeline." InfoPlease. 6 Feb. 2008.
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