Two centuries of feminist milestones

A history of feminism in America.



Joe Dennis


For more than 200 years women’s rights have been a recurring issue; feminists having to endure many struggles and hardships when it comes to fighting for equal rights.

During the late 19th and early 20th century feminism began to make itself widely known throughout the United States and much of the Western World.

The first wave of feminism fought for women’s suffrage, a woman’s rights to vote and run for office. On July 19-20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y., the Seneca Falls Convention took place with 300 men and women rallying in support for women’s rights. During the Seneca Fall Convention, 100 of the 300 attendees signed the controversial Declaration of Sentiments that allowed women to attain similar social, civil and political rights similar to men.

As expected, those who refused to sign the declaration did so not out of disagreement with the declaration itself but for the fact that people were not ready to abandon their conventional mindset. By 1920, the 19th Amendment was added into the U.S. Constitution which allowed everyone the right to vote regardless of their gender.

In 1963 the second wave of feminism came as a late reaction to the post-war baby boom of the 1940s to the early 1960s. Two major legal victories for feminists came in the form of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed by President John F. Kennedy, abolished pay gaps based on a person’s gender. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination regardless of the person’s race, sex, nationality or religion.

Currently the third wave of feminism has had quite a few victories over the past two decades that have not gone without notice, especially in the military and international women’s rights.

Women began serving in combat zones for the first time back in 1990 during the Gulf War and have continued to serve in combat situations across the Middle East. Internationally, women continue to fight for freedom even in nations where women have not as many freedoms than men. In 2008 Nigerian feminists defeated the Nudity Bill which prohibited certain articles of clothing punishable by law for anyone 14 years or older.

International Women’s Day on March 8 celebrates and shows appreciation towards women for all of their social, political and economic achievements.

Unlike Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, International Women’s looks back and congratulates women in the world for their historical accomplishments and the struggles they went through in order to achieve their freedoms.

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Two centuries of feminist milestones

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