Since both raised awareness and was a turning point

Since
the beginning of mankind, women have always been discriminated against
alongside numerous other groups. Whether in terms of discrimination in the
workplace, at home, in public or in bed, it was only until the eighteenth
century that real change and awareness of these issues became increasingly
apparent. From the first woman’s rights convention in 1848 to the signature of
the 19th amendment in 1920, multiple events that revealed to be key in the
development of a more modern view of women in society have occurred. The most
important include the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, World War One and its
two acts that were passed as a result, and finally the One Package court
battle of 1936. All of these events were major contributors in terms of
advancing society’s view of women in terms of basic human rights, voting
rights, working rights and birth control.

One of
the most impactful turning points in history is the Seneca Falls Convention.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Hosted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, it was the first woman’s rights convention to
ever be hosted. Being the first woman’s rights convention, it stood out and was
therefore looked at as a breakthrough since it was not only the first of its
kind, but it also successfully changed numerous non-believers and skeptics
minds. Furthermore, at the convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was
signed. This document, introduced a base for women’s rights, which was not
previously established. This text not only raised awareness of injustice
towards women in regards to voting rights, but also argued the equality of
basic human’s rights shared by both men and women. Zig Ziglar, a renowned
English writer was once quoted to say, “the first step in solving a problem is
recognizing you have one” (“Ziglar”). Following a similar logic, the fact that
this type of convention and the document signed both raised awareness and was a
turning point in the history of women’s rights since it can be seen to be the
“first step” in establishing the rights previously stated. Finally, the Seneca
Falls convention is also a major key event in history as the Declaration of
Sentiments allowed women to gain support from popular figures.

Frederick
Douglass, a well-known believer in equality, was one of the 32 people who
signed the resolution. This is particularly important as Douglass was “one of
the most famous intellectuals of his time, advising presidents and lecturing to
thousands on a range of causes” (“Douglas”). This man’s wisdom, courage and
power gave this issue an extra push needed to raise awareness and convince
those who were skeptical or non-believers. This created a certain bandwagon
effect. The bandwagon effect, “is a psychological phenomenon whereby people do
something primarily because others are doing it, regardless of their beliefs”
(“Bloom”). It only makes sense that with a figure of authority such as
Frederick Douglass, who is respected by other men, created a more equal
viewpoint among countless men.

The
first world war was one of the most important events in terms of women’s rights
as it not only demonstrated the capabilities of women but also led to two
highly important acts, marking a new episode for the working and voting life of
women. Before the war, life for women in Britain mainly took place at home, as
their job was to take care of the family while their husbands went to work and
earned money. However, when World War One came, as men departed to fight abroad
women were increasingly needed in factories, shops and offices. (“Adie”).

Responsible for not only giving “more than a million” women a chance to join
the workforce, this allowed them to demonstrate that they were able to take on
what were at the time considered men’s jobs. Furthermore, since this was during
the war, it offered more credibility as this proved they were able to work through
economic crises which is harder than merely fulfilling it in simpler times of
peace.

Moving
on, this display of feminine labor lead to two key acts which majorly changed
the lives of women; the Representation of the People and the Sex
Disqualification Act. The first act gave women of property over the age of 30
the right to vote. It can be argued that the Representation of the
People act is not as important since it did not give the right to vote for the
main supporters of the Suffragette and the workers of World War one, who were
under 30, this was still the first time that women could vote for their rights.

It allowed 8.5 million to be enfranchised, an idea which was previously never
grasped (“Trueman”). This also signified a huge victory for Suffragettes, who
had already been fighting for such a right for the past 15 years. The Sex
Disqualification Act, another outcome of World War One’s display of work by
women, also marked a rather impactful moment in history. This particular act,
made it illegal to exclude women from their jobs because of gender (“Adie”).

The relevancy of this act not only increased the amount of jobs available to
women, but helped get rid of the label “men’s jobs” that was established during
World War One.

The United
States vs One Package court battle was paramount in importance in terms of
the views on birth control. Before this court case, birth control was regarded
by society as obscene and absurd (Encyclopedia Britannica). This greatly
influenced women’s lives negatively as there was no way of properly controlling
the birth of children legally, and therefore on numerous occasions women had to
either stop working or cut back on their education simply because they were
hampered by the duties of being mothers. However, the One Package court
battle motivated the change for this dilemma. In 1936, a shipment of
contraceptive pills was seized by the government, leading to a battle between
Dr. Hannah Stone and the US government. Eventually, the case was closed and the
court ruled that shipments sent to doctors could not be seized by law. This
court case marked a large turning point in the history of birth control since
it not only legalized prescribed birth control methods but also made it more
acceptable. Although this did not make birth control entirely legal, this was
the point in which it was first allowed to be prescribed by doctors to married
couples. Although there were other events which were important to the
birth control movement, such as the shutting down of Margaret Sanger’s clinic,
this particular court case remains chief in terms of impact as it changed the
lives of millions of women from one day to another.

All in
all, it is difficult to pinpoint some events as the most important in the
history of women’s rights. While at first glance the most obvious, clear answer
might be that the major events are the ones which finalized these movements
this is not the case. Rather than the events that finalized the movement, the
events which marked a clear change which was never seen before are the ones
quintessential to this course of events. The Representation of the People Act
and the Seneca Falls Convention which were most crucial in the development of
voting rights. This is due to these two being the first of their kind; women
were simply not allowed to vote in any way and awareness of the issue was
relatively inexistent comparing the support before to the support gained after
the convention. The same goes for the basic human rights of women before the
convention, to the working rights and views on women and labor before the Sex
Disqualification Act and to the views on birth control before the One
Package court case. As we can see, all of these share the innate
characteristic that they were the first of their kind in either raising awareness
or introducing change.