WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE 8
The struggle that women in the United States ofAmerica underwent to attain the right to vote was enormous, admirableand worth remembering, but the activities of modern American women donot measure up to that fight. They were given a crucialweapon, the right to vote. All along, they have been unable towisely use their voting power to bring change in the society.It is a big letdown to those who lost their lives, wasted their timein detention and protests, the supporters of those movements and theentire feminine fraternity.
The 50.4 percent of the population inthe United States are women and yet they have below 20percent representation in national elective posts ("Population,female (% of total) | Data | Table", 2016 below). Itimplies that the central voting populace is women, and theirrepresentation is less in elective offices. The situation isalmost the same as that in the precedingdark days where women were not allowed to vote or contestin any voting positions in thesociety. When one is taken through thestruggles that led to the realization of the women’s suffrage andhave a look at the modernsituation, he/she cannot see how deservingthe effort was. Women were mainly affected by the problem. Over time,they have not had enough representation in competingposts. The men have devised ways of manipulating them and eventuallyusing them as voting tools (WILLIAMS, 2012). There is no point wherewomen have ever stopped seeking gender equality from theirgovernments. This problem is spread inalmost every part of the world, including the U.S itself. Economicproblems have rendered many of them to being more dependent on menthus losing interest in providing for themselves.
Men constitute the richest section of the American populationcompared to females. It is because most of the females do not engagein hand-operated and cumbersome work. Theprimary causes of women lackingrepresentation and misusing their ability to vote are poverty, lackof awareness and the majority of them do not support theircounterparts when they seek voting posts.It is a rampant tradition that women do not elect fellow females. Forinstance, Mary Landrieu, Shelley Moore Capito, Kay Hagan and JoniEarnest lost in the Senate races in Louisiana, West Virginia, NorthCarolina and Iowa respectively when the majority of voters were women("Women`s Suffrage", 2016). The same happened with HillaryClinton in the Democratic primaries of 2008. Christine Quinn won just16% of the women votes when she was running for New York City mayor.In the history of the United States of America, there has never beena president who is female. Since passingthe suffrage rule in 1920, many women have vied for the presidencyand never make through.
Attaining women’s suffrage in America was a stressfulbattle that needs to reflect its worth in the moderngeneration of women. The drafting of the Declaration of Sentimentsplayed a great role in the establishment ofa women’s movement that was organized andforecast. It also enlightened the public about the importance ofequality of women in the society. The move won hearts of many peopleeven though it was under constitutional suppression. During theSeneca Falls Convention of 1948, organized by Elizabeth CathyStanton, the Declaration of Sentiments was introduced (Jackel, 2001). It was a brilliant step since the document had a list of troublesthat women went through, again, the most substantialissue was the proposed remedies to the problems.
Elizabeth stressed that men and females ofall social status were equally created, andno one had a right to consider any of the gender inferior to oneanother (Haesly, 2003). She insisted that the demeaning nature of menagainst women was hypocritical because the nation wasfounded on the pillars of liberty for everyone. Stanton’smove was well structured and organized. She presented her issues withzeal and passion. It sounded like she was seeking independence ofanother nation. The presentation byElizabeth Stanton was among the originalformal documents to give suggestions on women`s rights to not onlydeserve more privileges but also to begiven the right to economic, social and political practices,including the right to vote. Stanton also attacked the men on widelyexercised injustices against women. A lot of people in theConvention, both males and females did notsign the document because the issue of women’s right to vote wasahead of its time (Haesly, 2003). Many years after the Convention,Elizabeth Stanton and her document, the Declaration of Sentiments,were a main controversial topic in the entire nation. Nevertheless,the paper became a turning point in the waywomen were to live. It is because the paperwas the first to express displeasure outwardlyin the way a woman was seen and treated.Injustices against women were all over America,and when a woman felt pressed and complained, she was detained andtherefore could not even have a basic right to freedom of movement.For instance, The Yellow Wallpaper`s writer, Charlotte PerkinsGillman, was arrested because of herdispleasure in the way she was treated (WILLIAMS, 2012).
Again, among the first proponents of thewomen’s rights such as Abigail Adams, were suppressed by beinggiven limits to writing letters, talking to people directly and hencethey could not spread their messages to other women and men whowished to join the same fight. The issues of equality and liberty areentangled into the very fabric of the United States ofAmerica. Nevertheless, were it not for the struggles that the womenunderwent, it would be untrue to say that America wasfounded on the principles of oneness, equality, and liberty.It means that the United States structure and functioning go hand inhand with the drafting of the Declaration of Sentiments. Whenstruggling for change, people usually go through many problems. Theyare incarcerated, and painfully, someindividuals lose their lives in the process (Stalcup, 2000). It isalso true to say that the women who were involved in the strugglesfor suffrage did a noble work. My opinion is that even if theconstitution at that time did not allow women to vote, their actionwas legal because many people supported their idea.
The women also used the right channels when seeking the government toaddress their problems. First off, they formed movements such as theNational Women’s Party (NWP) and the National American Women’sSuffrage Association (NAWSA). The organization of peacefuldemonstrations at the White House and allowing the media to coverthose proceedings freely was an honorable decision too. It shows thatthey were acting without any hidden agenda.
The mentioned events which led to victory are just a fewof the cruelties that the women endured. The same revolutionarydemonstrations were witnessed in Europe,Australia, South America and other parts of the world.
Their movements did not threaten the values of sociallife. They only sought to improve a woman`s way of living. Themajority of the males felt threatened by the decision of legalizingwomen’s suffrages. Social work played asignificant role in proving that women were also importantjust to men. Sensitization by educated females and the media promotedthe quest (Hill, 2006).
Following the right to vote, women were also allowed toparticipate in many different economicactivities to make their living. They did not have any hidden agendaswhen fighting for the suffrage. The historical importance of thisproblem is to benchmark the changes that have beenrealized now and what has created the discrepancy. One of themain remedies to the challenges of gender inequality is voting. Sincewomen are the majority ofthe American population, they should be able to register as voters inlarge numbers and elect their counterparts in power so that they canconstitute a substantial ratio. There is no need for women tostruggle for Constitutional amendments to reserve a given number ofseats for them.
The unexplained factors that contribute to shortages ofwomen, especially in offices which they have ahigher chance in occupying, are tremendous. Several researcheshave shown that women do not elect others because of lesserissues such as jealousy, and others follow the influence from theirhusbands, boyfriends, parents and brothers. I believe that at thispoint, there should be uniformity in American offices based ongender, but because women have not utilizedtheir numbers in elections, there has been no much change since theearly days of America.
The problem of inequality has been persistent since therevolutionary period. Just like the U.S, other parts of the world,women have contested for seats without making it through.Technically, women are contributing to their downfall.
There are many platforms used to foster change in the way the societytreats a woman. Much focus has been put onthis that everyone forgets the role women play in the problems theyface. Now, there is little value placed onthe importance of the voting right that women have. Empowering awoman can propel the society to a more advancedlevel. Everybody has a personal uniqueness, all gender, males, andfemales. Some famous women have changed theworld, for instance, Gloria Steinem, whowas instrumental in championing women issues on television, she isalso the founder of Ms. Magazine. Hillary Clinton was astrong first lady and later after her husband’s retirement,she engaged in politics holding importantposts such as Secretary of State, currently, she is vying for thepresidency in the 2016 elections. Michelle Obama has also been activeas the first lady. Others include ToniMorrison, Barbara Walters, Alice Rivlin, Mariam Wright and manyothers. If they are given a chance to leadin higher offices, they can deliver as much as men do (Haesly, 2003).
In conclusion, a significant social problem troublingthe 21st century is the number of women holding positionsof influence. Winning suffrage was a stepping stone for women to takepart in meaningful social roles. Most of them have not utilized thatright to help shape the society. Some of the women who fought fortheir rights did not live to see its implementation and utilizationby their posterity. Every woman is expected to use their rights inbringing about progress. Those women who areeducated have to help others get the education too. Theyshould seek elective positions. That decision can contribute toreducing the problems that women have after decades of fighting fortheir right to vote.
Haesly, R. (2003). Women`ssuffrage. San Diego: GreenhavenPress.
Hill, J. (2006). Women`ssuffrage. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics,Inc.
Jackel, S. (2001). Women`sSuffrage. TheCanadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11May 2016, fromhttp://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/womens-suffrage/
Stalcup, B. (2000). Women`ssuffrage. San Diego, Calif.:Greenhaven Press.
WILLIAMS, K. (2012). State Ranking inInternational Society and the Spread of Norms: Women’s Suffrage,National Women’s Bureaus, and Legislature Sex Quotas. InternationalStudies Review,14(3),458-460. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2486.2012.01128.x
Women`s Suffrage.(2016). Ipu.org.Retrieved 11 May 2016, from http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/suffrage.htm
Population, female (% of total) | Data | Table. (2016).Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 12 May 2016, fromhttp://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS