Women Continue to Fight for Their Rights

Legacy of Seneca Falls


Kyra Savage

Kyra Savage, Guest Contributor

Women have faced discrimination for centuries from men who saw them as less than them. Finally, in 1848, a group of women, along with some men, gathered in Seneca Falls, NY for the first woman’s rights convention. (Seneca Falls) Those who attended were invited by reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who were both abolitionists, human/feminist activists. Both decided to be involved in the fight early on in their lives.

The convention had many goals it wanted to achieve for women; however, one of the main ones was women’s suffrage. (Seneca Falls) The movement for women’s rights started and still has yet to end. Women across our country today continue to use their voices to fight for their rights and show the power of women.

During the Seneca Falls Convention, all the members of the group agreed that one of the most important goals they wanted to fight for was a woman’s right to vote. Many of which inspired women like Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s campaign against any suffrage amendment that excluded women. This was the fight over the 14th and 15th Amendments. However, some of their former allies like Lucy Stone, Julia, and Ward Howe argued that this was “the Negro’s hour” and female suffrage could wait. (Pruitt) The suffrage movement for women lasted for decades and was a tough fight.

They faced many challenges with the government ratifying the amendment. Despite agreeing with the suffragettes, government officials kept the interest focused on Black voting rights during the Civil War. However, finally, after almost 100 years of fighting, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. Then that following November 2nd almost 8 million women cast their first vote in a US election. (Women’s Suffrage) 

Many women’s rights in the past have been very controversial topics in society. However, one that has been extreme is a women’s right to an abortion. In the landmark case, Jane Roe filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas in 1970. She challenged a Texas law making abortion illegal except by a doctor’s orders to save a woman’s life.

In her lawsuit, Roe alleged that the state laws were unconstitutionally vague and abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In 1973 the Supreme Court announced its decision on the Roe v. Wade case.

The court said that it is a woman’s constitutional right to privacy to have a safe and legal abortion. The court’s decision claims it “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy”. (Oyez) Therefore allowing women to have the option to have an abortion if she chooses to do so.

However, even though abortion is legalized, many states are placing stricter rules and regulations causing women to not be able to get an abortion. On May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB8 into law, with an effective date of September 1, 2021. SB8 states, “a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child”. (Cohen) Proving this is still a major issue, and women are still fighting for reproductive rights today.

Many of the rights that we as women have grown up having the opportunity to do or privilege is because of the many women who fought for us many years ago. Every morning when we get up to get ready for school, we don’t realize how much of a privilege it is. We overlook it because it is something that we have just always had to do; however, that is not the case.

Our right to an equal education was only granted by law fairly recently. Since the enactment of  Title IX in 1972, federal law guarantees the right to education free from sex discrimination, and since then women and girls have made great strides toward achieving equality (Women’s Rights). However, many issues still remain, “like the increasing trend of separating boys and girls in public schools based on sex stereotypes” (Women’s Rights). Treating students differently based on gender is sex discrimination, and it needs to be stopped.

Another issue that women have faced based on equality is in the workplace. Equal pay and discrimination have affected millions of women across the U.S. every year. This is why the government created the Equal Pay Act, which requires men and women in the same workplace to be given equal pay for equal work. (EEOC) 

In March of 2019, 28 women on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team filed a lawsuit against The U.S. Soccer Federation claiming gender discrimination, specifically in unequal payment. They were not being paid the same amount as the men’s team; the women’s team was being paid less. The players based the lawsuit on two grounds. One being that U.S. Soccer violated the Equal Pay Act by paying the men’s team more than the women’s and two, that the federation discriminated against the WNT under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in regard to workplace conditions. (Adams)

These women fought for their rights while also showing young women across the country and around the world that they have a voice, and they have the power to speak up. 

Many people across America think that the women’s fight for equality has been over for decades; however, that’s just not the case. Women continue to fight for rights that they thought were solved years ago, but also new rights that they did not consider before. The world is ever-changing, and we change along with it for the better.