History of Women’s Rights and the Gender Pay Gap

1998 marked the 150th Anniversary of a movement by women. The fight for women’s rights began in the late 19th century. 1917, women could vote, making 2017 the 100th anniversary of the ending for women’s suffrage, or has it? Although we have marched, protested and have the 19th amendment stating our rights, we are still not quite equal. This research will explore the past and current state of women’s  supported with data. We have made progress, but the problem is still there. The only way to eliminate a global problem such as this, is to fight together, both genders. Men must see women as their coworker and partner, not combatant or slave.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote what is known as the Declaration of Sentiments, in 1848.
These sentiments stated facts about women, their rights and equality, that we are still fighting today. “When women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned” (Ruthsdotter, 1998). This was stated in the early 19th century, yet in what will soon be the 22nd century, some women are still paid this way. Women are still fighting to be considered an equal, a partner, a co-worker and not a combatant. Women prior to the 19th amendment were basically subject to their husbands. Their entire lives were solely based on their husbands. Their income, land, child custody, all other rights, and more were chosen, mandated and or owned by their spouse.

“In 1920, the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor was established to gather information about the situation of women at work, and to advocate for changes if needed. Many women’s activist became involved with campaigning for laws to protect women workers from abuse and unsafe conditions. It took seventy-two years for women and their male supporters to be successful.” (Ruthsdotter, 1998) In 1923, Alice Paul, the leader of the National Woman’s Party wrote the Equal Rights Amendment for the United States Constitution and Congressional Union, followed by the National Woman’s party in 1916. (Ruthsdotter, 1998) We have had many waves of change for women and their rights, but we still aren’t quite equal yet.

We are now allowed to vote, divorce, take full custody of our children, own land, be leaders in religious organizations, be business owners, CEO’s, and file with the courts over domestic abuse. These things and more have shown how far we have come since 1848. The reason for the constant waves of change, and fighting back, is possibly due to men and women alike, can see a woman as more than just a female, with limited ability. Who some only seen her job as a wife, birth children and take care of the home. Women are now seen as fellow human being who deserve respect and the same rights as their male counterpart. Women and men have fought alongside each other for the equality of women; especially in the work place, for many years. If men in the workplace could see women as their partner, and not combatant maybe we would end this wage inequality amongst women.

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