Women’s Rights Throughout History

Today, women have the right to vote and run for office. They have the right to work at any job they want, and to own property. They have the right to get an education, and to raise children. But this wasn’t always the case. Women who were called feminists worked for many years to get these rights. They also fought to change the way people thought about women and their role in society. They wanted to show that women were as smart as men, and that they were not naturally weaker or less capable than men. They also fought to end discrimination against women, and to stop harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Throughout much of history, women have not had equal rights with men. People did not treat women as equals because they did not believe that women had the same abilities or potential. Some myths and religions even presented women as a source of evil. It was not until the late 1700s that people began to talk about individual freedom, and included in their definition of liberty the idea that all people have certain rights that governments must respect. Several free-thinking women of this time spoke up for these rights, and one of them was Mary Wollstonecraft. She wrote that women needed to win suffrage, or the right to vote, because only then would they be able to change the way their societies operated.

The movement for women’s rights took hold in North America first, mainly because women were allowed to go to school earlier than in Europe. When they learned how to read and write, they were able to think for themselves and question the ways their societies worked. Women who had this power were a force to be reckoned with, and they began to organize themselves into groups to lobby politicians for their rights. But these groups often squabbled. Well-dressed professionals who believed that women should reason with men could not unite with wild-haired radicals who had been turned off by polite discourse with “the enemy.” In the end, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed.

In 2019, the UN estimated that it would cost $264 billion to end some of the worst gender injustices, including violence against women and girls, preventable maternal deaths, and the lack of access to contraception. But only 16% of the required funding has been pledged, and without it, we will not make good progress in empowering women to live up to their full potential. That is why it’s important that every person stand up for women’s rights. Whether you are a politician, a business leader, or a parent, we all have a responsibility to help put an end to these injustices. Only then will everyone benefit from a world where women can live their lives with the same opportunities as men.