Evolution of Women’s Rights Since 19th Century

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Equality Rights 1 The Evolution of the Extension of Equality Rights from Classical to Modern Liberalism Malak Alkadri Social Studies 30 Mrs. Kadaoui November 30, 2012 Equality Rights 2 Towards the latter part of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, classical liberalism underwent great modifications in terms of equality rights. Its modified form even came to be known as modern or positive liberalism. It differed from classical liberalism in so far as it emphasized the significance and rationality of equal opportunities and justice.

Modern liberalism has promoted the positive rather than the negative aspects of the liberation movement. The extension of women’s equality rights of the final step in the revolution of classical liberalism to modern liberalism has extended this particular group’s rights economically, socially and politically to an uttermost extent. Initially, women’s lives have improved economically. Modern liberalism has come to interpret freedom as involving a right to basic requirements of the development and security necessary to assure the equal opportunity and personal dignity of women.

Nevertheless, in the nineteenth century’s Victorian era, the emergence of women’s rights was limited. Feminism had influenced the ideology of separate spheres in which men inhabit the public sphere – the world of politics, commerce and law - and women inhabit the private realm of domestic life – child caring, housekeeping and so on (Christison, etal. 2009, p. 158). Women of all classes worked hard, yet, were still a supply of cheap labour. Whereas today, more women are employed, more girls are being educated, women are living longer and having fewer children, and the number of females in business and in politics has increased dramatically.

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According to the Center for Women's Business Research, female entrepreneurs generate $2. 3 trillion to the Equality Rights 3 American economy and employ more than 18 million people (qtd. In newint. org). One area in which women have made major progress in is education. Modernly, more women are enrolled in law school, medical school, and schools of business and finance. Young women today do not feel social pressure to pursue only those professions which were once traditionally reserved for them, most commonly teaching and nursing.

As a result, millions of women today succeed in professions that were completely closed to them in the past, such as working in open, public areas rather than at home or in healthcare areas. Also, women’s economic rights and acceptance have evolved dramatically since the final evolution of equality rights in the classical liberalism. Women have now acquired the freedom to work as they please, with rather no restrictions and a lot less government involvement. Women's economic authority has severely improved in the modern setting as opposed to thirty years ago, when women were first entering the workplace.

It was a rare occurrence, and rather “odd” at that time to see women at work, and now it is something common, accepted, and even encouraged. Surely, on a social level, women’s rights have defiantly evolved in the way people collaborate and treat women. There has been a collective change of consciousness in how men are expected by law to communicate with women in the workplace. While some personal Equality Rights 4 attitudes might not have changed; men and women both understand that the workplace is to be a setting to be free of hurtful and insensitive comments.

Additionally, women have successfully fought for family leave rights. Afterwards, the occurrence of the “Family and Medical Leave Act” had emerged in the US by federal law in 1993 (qtd. in en. wikipedi. org). The fight is more prevalent now than it was back then. However, focusing on the cases of the United States and England, we show that the historical expansion of women’s rights also unfolded through equal treatment in the labour market. In contrast, in most African countries women gained formal political rights, at the end of colonialism before receiving economic rights.

Moreover, there are many specific traditions such as foot binding and child marriage, which impact the rights of women that are specific to certain cultures. Contemporary phenomena, such as HIV/AIDS also represent challenges to gender equality that were not present in earlier time periods (Kristof and WuDunn 2009). Likewise, women’s political rights have also been extended now than ever before. You may agree that the near end of the classical period is similar to modern liberalism because people with disabilities, prison inmates, women eighteen year of age and older, and nations

Equality Rights 5 such as the Inuit without surrendering their culture were allowed to vote hence, there has not been much change in the political rights of women. I beg and plead to differ. Thirty years ago, all types of women eighteen and older may have been granted the right to vote but that’s as far as it went. Now, women are CEOs and presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton for example, serves as an American Secretary of the United States. Women are now not only given the right to vote, but the right to be voted for. Currently, US citizens can vote in the US elections.

Yet, back when the country was founded; in most states, only men with real property or substantial wealth were permitted to vote. Almost all women and their votes were denied at the time. Now, since the US constitution, every individual has gained the right to vote. Although, in the 1920’s, the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labour is formed to collect information about women in the workforce and safeguard good working conditions for women (Ann-Marie Imbornoni. 2009). You may say that the workforce now-a-days also provides a great source of security and freedom for women similar to the 19th century.

Not necessarily. The freedom of women in the workforce has also been extended. President Baraak Obama, for instance, signed the Lily Ledbetter Fairpay Restoration Act, which allows victims of pay discrimination to send a complaint to the government against their employer within 180 days of their last pay check. Previously, victims (most often women) are now allowed to claim an unjust pay check whereas Equality Rights 6 back in the 19th century, their freedoms were under more authority than they are in the modern society (Ann-Marie Imbornoni. 009) Finally, the evolution of the equality rights of women has extremely extended since classical liberalism in the 19th century. The rights of women have extended in several different aspects especially in terms of economical, social and political rights. Men and women are now equal in regards to occupations, elections, education, job pay checks, security, and collaboration. Despite the amount of freedom women have gained, it is no longer a shock to see a women play what was then called a “man’s role” in society. Women have the right to not only vote but run for candidates as well.

Young women today are not enforced to occupy the domestic part of life, or jobs that were traditionally reserved for them. Millions of women today succeeded in professions that were completely prohibited to them in the past, such as working in open, public areas. Women’s economic rights and acceptance have evolved dramatically since the final evolution of equality rights in the classical liberalism. “I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience. (Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre Equality Rights 7 References Imbornoni, Ann-Marie. "Women's Rights Movement in the U. S. : Timeline of Events (1921-1979). 30 Nov. 2012. ;http://www. infoplease. com/spot/womenstimeline2. html; "What women have gained and what they are in danger of losing -- New Internationalist. " New Internationalist. Nikki van der Gaag, n. d. Web. 1 Nov. 2004. ;http://www. newint. org/features/2004/11/01/women-want/; Lambert, Tim. "Women's Jobs in History. "A World History Encyclopedia. Tim Lambert, 14 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2021. ;http://www. localhistories. org/womensjobs. html;

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