** Feminist issues

Feminist Issues

Figure 1.-- This 1930 cover for Libery magazine was drawn by Leslie Trasher. He did quite a number of 'Liberty' covers with children, including several depicting girls in unconventional roles. Feminist authors accurately depict the ways in which women had been disadvantaged throughout history. It is interesting, however, that almost all do not not like to mention that Anmerica has led the way in equal rights for women. They seem to prefer to point out that women were disadvantaged wihout mntioning tht Anerican played the primary role in changing Western society.

We focus on children in our website, but a range of feminist issues touch upon children. This is especially the case as women in most countries are primarily responsible for child care. Even in Western countries most affected by the Women's Movement, it is women that are primarily responsible. Thus we want to assess the history of feminism. And the mother-child bond since the evolution of humans has been one of the most critical, if not the single most important relationship, in a child's life. As a result we want, to discuss some of the feminist issues here. One of these critical issues is is violence against women. Here we are developing some country pages. Another important issue is abortion because of the millions of lives which are being terminated. And one women's groups for unknown reason do not address is the rapidly increasing number of children being born out of wedlock.

Mother and Child Bond

We focus on children in our website, but a range of feminist issues touch upon children. This is especially the case as women in most countries are primarily responsible for child care. Even in Western countries most affected by the Women's Movement, it is women that are primarily responsible. And the mother-child bond since the evolution of humans has been one of the most critical, if not the single most important relationship, in a child's life. This rektionship is invedded in our DNA. It can be seen in virtually all mammels including all of the primates. To deny it is to deny science. It may be as Vice-President Gore might descibe as an 'incomnvenient truth', but it is scientific fact.

History of Feminism

Given the importance of women in child care, we want to assess the history of feminism. This means the history of women since the dawn of civilization. Little is known about the role of women before the neolithic (agricultural revolution). Based on modern primitive peoole, women enjoyed a higher status than in the settled civilizations that developed. Accounts of women captured by the Native Americans report that they experienced greater freedom and higher status with the Indians. Every civilization and historical period dealt with women differently, a topic not commonly dealt in detail by historians who focus on leaders and other important people which almost always were men. Modernn feminism begins with the sufferage. Thus normally begins with the 19th century as this was when average individuals began to vote in most countries. Feminist history in America often begins with Abel Adams and the sage advice she offered to her husbabd, the second American president. America from a early point would lead the women's movement witth other country's far behind. Something thar Femnist bleaders do not seem to want to mention. Britain had the next most importabt Femimist movement. The issue of the sufferage for women did not begin until the Age of Jackson when most white Americans began to vote without regard to wealyh and property. As the abolitionist movement gained momentum, Feminist leaders move to disassociate their struggle for the vote from abolition. Many women were involved in the abolition movement, but not the major feminist leaders like Susan B. Anthpny and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. After the passage of the 15th Amendment banning discrimation in voting based on race, the women's movement focused on the sufferage. A range of people were involved in the movement , including sisters Victorua Woodhall and Tennessee 'Tennie; Clafin who opened a brockerage firm (1870). Victoria was the first woman candidate for president and picked noted former slave Frederick Douglss as aunning mte. Tennie ran for Congress. The two proved too controversial as they also advocated free lkove and were banished from the movement. They crossed the Atlantic and married two of the richest men in Britain. [MacPherson] Margaret Sanger also proved controversial as she advocated for birth control. After the passage of the 19th Amendmebt granting he vote to women, the movement began to shift toward advocating for an Equal Rights Amendment. A movemnt which almost succeeded, but ultimately failed in 1983.

Feminism in America

Feminist authors focus on pointing out all the cultural, legal, and relgious constraints that women have faced over time. And because the Feninist Movement is strongest in America, this hsd commonly ment detailing these constraints in America. The Unitd States began as English colonies so it inherited English law and social conventions. Feminist histories are, however, largely selective and ignore the simple facts as to why America was different and the women made more progress in America than any other country. First and foremost was the Frontier. It soon became obvious in Jamestown (1609) that the colonies were not going to survive with aristocratic gentlemen. What was needed were skills. This plaued to women, cultural conventions on the frontier were less important skills and hard work. Another imprtant develop,ent was coeducation from an early point. Here Protestantism was a factor, but the lack of developed institutiins mean that separate schools for boys and girls were not paractical. Schools on the Frontier began as very basis one room buildings with small numbers of children. The teacher was commonly a school marm. Teachers in Europe were mostly men. Thus coeducation became well established in American eduaction at a time that single gender education was pronounced in Europe. And public education also became established at an early point. And this continued even when secondary schools began to become established. At many secondary schools there were more fenmale than male students. In Europe most secomdry students were male. In part because there was more pressure on teenage boys to get jobs. Thui meant that America had the best educated women in the world. And with many American girls attending secondary schools, the transition to university led the entry of women to universities in Europe where there was more resistance. While the laws did not immeciately changed the level of education was a primarily factor froving the woman's movement in America and attitide toward women. And we begin to see imprtant legal and cultural milestonmes. Mary Kies becomes the first woman to receive a patent, an imprtant for a method of weaving straw with silk (1809). The first coeducational college was Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Oberlin, Ohio. It opened with 44 students, including 29 men and 15 women (1833). Women were not yet attending univiversity in Europe. Mississippi bcomes the first state to grant women the right to hold property in their own names, albeit at first with permission from their husbands (1839). Catherine Brewer graduated from Macon, Georgia's Wesleyan College at the time known as the Georgia Female College. She became the first U.S. woman with a bachelor's degree (1840). Women played a huge role in the largely church-based American Abolitionist Moverment. Britain and America had the only important ablitionist movements. The Seneca Falls, New York meeting occurs. Some 300 women and men sign the Declaration of Sentiments, a plea for the end of discrimination against women (1848). Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to graduate from medical school when she finishes at the top of her class at Geneva Medical School in Geneva, New York (1849). Harriet Beecher Stowe publihes the anti-sdlsvery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). President Lioncoln describeds her as 'the little lady who started the Civil War'. Dorothea Dix as Superintenden of the United States Sanitary Commission began tghe process of opening up nursung to women (1861-65). Oberlin College in Ohio awards the first bachelor's degree to an African-American woman, Mary Jane Patterson (1862). Lucy Hobbs becomes the first female doctor of dental surgery when she earns her D.D.S. from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery (1866). Arabella Mansfield is accepted to practice law in Iowa, making her the first woman lawyer (1869). Ada H. Kepley becomes the first woman in the United States to graduate from law school. Victoria Claflin Woodhull becomes the first female presidential candidate in the United States, nominated by the National Radical Reformers (1872). Female Federal employees (but not workers in the private sector)are guaranteed equal pay for equal work. Susan B. Anthony cast a vote to test whether the 14th Amendment could be used to guarantee women the right to vote. It cild not. She was convicted of 'unlawful voting'. The first training school for nurses, at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, graduated its first class. The first of five to enroll, Linda Richards, receives the first diploma (1873). This was a major step in professionizing the nursing profession. Helen Magill becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. degree after completing her graduate studies in Greek at Boston University (1877). Susanna Medora Salter becomes the first woman elected mayor of an American town -- Argonia, Kansas (1887). Wyoming becomes the first state to grant women the right to vote in all elections (1890). This mean tht she bdecame the first woman to vote in an election. Woman were not yet voting in Europe. Notice yht modst of the Americzan milestons came from the west. Priperty rights were slso expnding. By the turn of the 20th century, every state had passed legislation granting married women the right to keep their own wages and to own property in their own name. Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, wa the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress (1916). Margaret Sanger, 2 years after opening a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, wins a suit in New York to allow doctors to advise their married patients about birth control for health purposes (1918). Her clinic along with others found Planned Parenthood (1942). Conress ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution establishing the right of women to vote (1920). The first version of an Equal Rights Amendment is introduced. It says, "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction" (1923). Nellie Ross refused to campaign but easily won the race for givrnor of Wyoming. She became the first female governor (1925). Hattie Wyatt Caraway, of Arkansas, becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate (1932). President Roosevelt chose Frances Perkins to become the first female cabinet member, appointed Secretary of Labor (1933). It was not a token appointment. She was an important firce in the New Deal. At the same time Elnror Roosevelt began redefining the role of First Lady (1933). Women play a huge role in the American World War II Arsenal of Democracy as well as women's branches of the military (1941-45). Wile most returned to home mking, the experience oukd hve profound impact on America and the Women's Movement. Congress passesd the Equal Pay Act, promising equitable wages for the same work, regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin or sex of the worker (1963).

The Family

The modern concept of family is the 'nuclear' family. Today the nuclear family is widely viewed as the the basic family unit. Histirically this has not always been the case. In fact the nucleat family is a very modern creation. Historically, households in the West and many many societies commonly consisted of sometimes quite large groups of extended family members. This began to change in the industrializing West, especially in America during the late-19th century and began to be pronouncedd by the early-20th century. The Industrial Revolution was at the center of this change. The Industrial Revolution brought a more mobile society. Workers moved intomgrowing cities and couls easily move not bonly from gob to job, but from city to city. This commonly broke extended familt ties with relied on people living close to each other in fairly constructed gepgraphic area. Thus the nuclear family gradually became the primary family unit. The small nuclear family was tailor made for the modern age. Their relative mobility have the nuclear family the ability to seek out economic opportunities where ever they may exist. This was never in greater display than the movement West over the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe and other trails. And as modern American began to form in the 20th century, sprawling cities and economic opportunities meant that young people could marry and buy houses, this meant that nuclear families could live independently in their own homes, rather than in large extended family groupings. This is the cultural and social environment in which modern feminism developed. Wages were high enough in th early-20th century that working men could support a nuclear family. As women's employment opportunities were limited, the prevailing gende vole was for the husband to mork outside the home and for his wife to take care of their home and the children. This was the basic social pattern until World War II. Is at this time that a range of developments began to crack that social dynamic wide open. First, the War created an unprecedent demand for labor. As mean were drafted for miliray service, there was not only a vital needed for workers to keep war plants running, but to staff new factories being opened. And woman would fill those needs, working in industrail plants. Rossie the Riveter was a World War II icon. Second, American women were the most educated women in the world. American schools, unlike European schools were coeducational. And large numbers of women attnded seondary school and university, to a greaer extent than in Europe. This meant that they qualified for a wide range of jobs, although until aftder the War, teaching and nursing were rare areas in which women worked. Third, after the 1950s it became increasingly difficult for men, especially blue-collar workers, to support a family on his income alone. Fourth, feminist authors began questioning thevraditional arrangement at the same time that educated women began to bcome interested in professional careers.

War on Women

Here we are developing some country pages. Presidentb Obama during his presidencyaccused the Republicasns of waging war on women. Interestingl he refuses to make a similzar comment about Islacists who are waging aeal war on womenm. This is because it would violate a basic liberal tenant that all cultures are valid in there own right and not only is Western civulization not superior to other civilizations, but that is offensive to claim that it is. Only any basic assessment of the place of women can not miss that it is the West, especially Amnerica, which has been at the core of modern Feminist thought. The terrm for this line of thought is 'cultural revaltism'. The roponents of cultural relativism also tend to argue that the norms and values of one culture should not be evaluated using the norms and values of another. And it is a concep widely taught as fact in American universitires, the same universities which give great attenyion to Feminist issues.

Equal Pay

Feminist authors after abortion tends to focus on equal pay. And here while the gap in the United States has been closing, it still exists. Now while different pay scales for the same job have been eliminated, the pay differntial remains. It is primarily due to two factors, child rearing and job choice. First, the woman in most families is the primary care giver for childremn. This is not mandated by law, but is the choice most families make. This affects the career path of many women who in mny cases take time off from their carrers to care for younger children. This inhibits their career and promotion to top posts. Second, job choices. Women tend to choose jobs with care giving roles such as child care, teaching, nursing, social work, etc. Men often chose jobs in industry, business, the trades, engineering, etc. which tend to command higher salaries. Feminists say this is because society programs these career choices. In the past this was certainly the case, but society has changed substantilly in recent years. And there is a tendency among many Femists to deny that are two genders and real dfferences between men and womem. Thus denying that women are making real choices. On many issues there are arguments on both sides. To deby that two genders exist and insist that there are differences between men and women is to deny science.

Violence Against Women

One of the critical issues associated with feminism is violence against women. Through the 1950s this was something that police departments often refused to geive realn attentiom. As in many other areas, America has led the way in modern efforts to address domestic vilence. Here scintific adbances hve had a huge impasct. DNA testing has given the police a powerful tool in pursuing rape cases. There are far fewer unsokved rape cases today. And because misr assaults on women are carried out by family menbers, police departmnts and orcecutirs give far more attenyion to domestiuc violence--st least in the WSest. The same is not the case in many non-Western socuties, especially Muslim countries.


Another important issue is abortion because of the millions of lives which are being terminated. It is surely the most incenderary of all the Feminist issues. This is one of those issues in which there are strong arguments on both sides. Based on science, there is no doubt that life begins at conception and not birth. It is also true that women are more affected by a pregnancy in a range of ways than men. Unfortunately most of the life and choice proponents either ignore or totally reject the valid arguments of the other side.

Births Out of Wedlock

Women's groups for unknown reason do not address is the rapidly increasing number of children being born out of wedlock. Ognoring the basuc wthical issues, this means that African-American children in particular are being adversely affected. Over 70 percent of African-Amerucan chilren are being boen to unwed mothers. Growing up in a one parent fmily without a father figure in their lives is a major gcause of povety and the anti-soicial begvior of many yoing black males. Something Liberals absolutely refuse to admmit, prefering to demonize white people as the exclusive barative.

Equal Justice

Equal justice under law is one of the fundamental percepts of Western democrcy. It is engraved on the West Pediment, above the front entrance of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. You would think that for a group that has been so mistraeated by unequal law for noy just centuries, but millenia, that no precept would be more precious. But imprtant Feminists have been demanding preferential treatment. Former Senator and Secretary of State began pushing the idea that "Women do not lie" which qualifies the for preferential tratment. Amazingly Mrs. Clinton became the mosr prominent spokeswoman for this precept. Amasingly this is the same Mrs. Clinton who not only insisted that the many women accusing her husband of sexual inproprities, but then lunched vicious campaign to not only duscredit the accusers, but painthrm as traler park trash. Feminists in academia nd the Jusytice Deoartment went even furher, to procecute male college students accused by women of sexual attacks. Now some of this of course was waranted, but the idea that 'women do no lie' was use as prima facie eviudence. Campus Star Chambers were established to pursue these cases in whivh the accused were denied the most fundamental civll rights guaranteed by the Constitution. President Trump put an end to the abuses by ordering a more balanced approach in in the the intersection between Title IX, the nondiscrimination law (1972), and the problem of campus sexual assault. Reports suggest that President Biden is preparing to reinstate the Star Chambers.


MacPherson, Myra. The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Sufferage and Scandl in the Gilded Age (2014), 448p.


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Created: 6:27 AM 3/6/2014
Last updated: 10:10 PM 10/24/2021