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Women Who Fought for Equal Rights

We owe our thanks to these women who first stood up to fight for woman’s rights. It must have been a thankless task when the women they were fighting for had no idea they could ever stand equal in the law to men. They were owned by their fathers and if the father died, by their brothers. When women married they ceased to exist altogether. They owned nothing, not even their children.

Women who Fought for Equal Rights

Early in the nineteenth century a woman legally ceased to exist as a person when she married. Any property she owned became her husbands. She was required to submit to her husband under the law. A woman had no more rights than an animal. She was chattel. Later in the century women began to stand up for women’s rights. One of them was Catharine Beecher, an independent woman. Through her writing she sought to elevate the role of women in the home. 

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When she talked of the purity of women, it was not so much to raise them above the common, but to ensure that women were given more than a menial role. Beecher never married in an age when unmarried women were both pitied and scorned. She found that she enjoyed reading, math and philosophy. She took a job tutoring and found she could make her way as a teacher.

Beecher supported lower pay for women teachers as a way to encourage schools to hire them. During her campaign for women teachers, she said that women could afford to work for less than men because women didn’t have to worry about supporting a family. Beecher felt that all girls should be educated so they could support themselves if they had to, but she believed a married woman’s place was in the home.

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Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton held that women should be able to vote and be politically involved, but in the short run Beecher’s views held out because women had few career options. In the long run, the political feminists won as women went to work outside the home, and demanded the political rights to protect their own interests. Beecher had done her part in any case. She didn’t sit home waiting on husband and children, as she had none. Through her lectures and printed word, she had put up a good argument. It was a new role for women in America.

Elizabeth Blackwell applied to twenty nine medical schools before she was admitted to one. When she arrived at the school she was treated as a joke. She endured loneliness and scorn. She was unable to rent office space, was shunned by male doctors and was not allowed to work in hospitals. She was cut off from all chances to practice her chosen profession. This made her only more determined. She not only eventually established a clinic run by female doctors but founded a medical school for women.

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  1. megamatt09

    On March 8, 2011 at 11:51 am

    True pioneers that really shaped the modern world we lived in. Thanks for sharing.

  2. tanny15

    On March 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

    really great share. Thanx to those women who fought for right of equality and thanx to you for introducing them to us by your article.

  3. Netty net

    On March 8, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Good for this brave pioneer, Everyone should be equal.

  4. galore

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    nice share

  5. vijayanths

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Very well written post as always.

  6. pguims

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    thumbs up to these women!

  7. Roe2115

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    All great women! Thanks for the share!

  8. anndavey650

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Without these women in the world who stood up for their rights… we might still have been in the same place today… great share!


    On March 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    amazing women

  10. krlewis

    On March 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge about these brave, persistent women who helped make history and shape our future for the better. I look forward to reading more of the same.

  11. Jimmy Shilaho

    On March 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Women have come a long way. Cheers.

  12. MaxBuceo

    On March 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Interesting share. I like this post

  13. genicuta

    On March 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    nice share.

  14. Gail Cavanaugh

    On March 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    It is difficult to break the ice, but when you do, the others behind you have an easier way. Thanks for sharing, Ice Breaker!

  15. smidggy

    On March 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Tell it like it is Ruby!

  16. Eldridge

    On March 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Hmm, informative!

  17. alfabeta

    On March 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    It is not that long ago at all that women were treated like this. We have come a long way since then but there is still things that could be improved…

  18. Fleur D

    On March 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Great article. I actually visited Seneca Falls, NY house where Susan B Anthony , Frederick Douglas, and a few others got together to plan strategies for women’s rights. He was the only man at the time that supported their cause.
    A great book I like, ” A History of Women in America” by Carol Hymowitz and Michaele Weissman has so much on women that I did not know about.

  19. PR Mace

    On March 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    You tell it, Ruby! Thank goodness for these brave women and what they gained for us. Outstanding article.

  20. lapasan

    On March 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    These women were amazing.

  21. Mark Gordon Brown

    On March 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    it is good to appreciate what individuals have done

  22. GameLive

    On March 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    well written.Without these women??????????????????????????

  23. Tulan

    On March 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    We owe so much to those women who fought for women’s rights. We have those first few who stood up to be heard to thank for our equality today. We shouldn’t forget that.

  24. LCM Linda

    On March 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    It’s a blessing that we had some women who fought for women’s rights. Otherwise, the world will be very different, progress will be very slow without women’s contribution.

  25. LewSethics

    On March 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Good write.

  26. faizalhuda

    On March 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Interesting info

  27. Likha

    On March 9, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Bravo to these women!

  28. Val Mills

    On March 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Interesting to read about these women. Presumably they were American? I am proud that New Zealand was the first country to give votes to women. Thanks for the stories here, I really enjoyed them.

  29. genicuta

    On March 9, 2011 at 1:44 am

    thanks for sharing

  30. Anuradha Ramkumar

    On March 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    it is a great feeling to know about these women on the eve of International Womens’ Day. thnx for the share, Ruby.

  31. AshleyApathy

    On March 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for this great share!

  32. sloanie

    On March 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    An excellent article.

  33. Enlightenedpsych2

    On March 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you for posting this Ruby as we are to be reminded of how tough it was back then and still how much tougher it is now, especially if a woman chooses NOT to attend the marriage or procreation circuses and is still treated less than equal of her own gender peers. We may have come along way but we still have so much further to go . . .

    sharing the light,

  34. Shirley Shuler

    On March 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Two thumbs up, Ruby.

  35. Wild Willy

    On March 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Her-ray for women!

  36. shujaktk

    On March 10, 2011 at 12:07 am

    good work friend, i like it… thank you for share… keep in touch always

  37. cosmomed

    On March 10, 2011 at 3:10 am

    The feminism revolution. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Leonardo da Vinci E.

    On March 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    But one must pause and think clearly of the pain, rejection, and indignity such pioneers must have had to live with and experience daily to come to the conclusion they were the best amongst us all.

  39. jemialbert

    On March 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

    good share

  40. yes me

    On March 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Great share once more Ruby cheers

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