Despite all of the protesting surrounding women’s rights these days and all of the potential threats being made to those rights, I thought it would be nice to look on all the other hardships for the women’s movement. This is not the first time we have been slighted or have felt oppressed and I’m very certain it won’t be the last. But let’s take a minute to shout out to our founding mothers that paved the road to where we are today.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Together these two were the leaders of the suffrage movement. They spoke on women’s rights and abolition, created legislature about women’s rights over their children and control of their property and wages, and began the discussion on women’s right to vote.
Mary Eliza Church Teller: After founding the Colored Women’s League in 1892, she was elected the first president of the National Federation of Colored Women in 1896. She was also the first African American woman appointed to the District of Colombia Board of Education. She was a charter member of the NAACP, a lecturer on equal rights for women and blacks, and was a delegate for many international women’s rights congresses.
Margaret Sanger: She was out in the streets supporting the pro-choice movement before Planned Parenthood was a thing. In 1915 she was indicted for sending information on birth control in the mail and in 1916 she was arrested for conducting a birth control clinic. Her efforts eventually led to success and by 1960, after many court cases and drama, the FDA approves birth control pills!
Mary McLeod Bethune: A daughter of former slaves, Bethune became a teacher and then founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls in 1904. She founded the National Council of Negro Women over 30 years later in 1935. She served President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a special advisor for minority affairs and was present during the organization of the United Nations as a consultant on interracial understanding.
Eleanor Roosevelt: In the 1920’s she became a voice for the country as her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was diagnosed with Polio. The first first lady to conduct a press conference and a huge advocate for social causes such as women’s, youth, and minorities rights. She was made chair of the Commission on Human Rights, helped create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and lead the liberal Democratic party.
Betty Friedan: Writer of The Feminine Mystique, she exposed the unhappiness that women faced in their home life when only raising children and keeping up the household. This sparked the feminist movement and led to the formation of the National Organization for Women. She wrote two other books, one addressing the issue that men needed to be involved in childrearing (The Second Stage), and another focusing on societies dislike and poor treatment of the elderly (The Fountain of Age).
Norma McCorvey: Better known as the “Roe” half of Roe Vs. Wade, McCorvey got pregnant after being raped and wanted an abortion. Then, in Texas when she lived, laws stated abortions were only legal if the woman’s life was in danger. Her original case in 1969 was not won and she had the child. It was brought to the Supreme Court in the early 1970’s and it was decided in 1973 that getting an abortion was up to the woman under the freedom of personal choice in the Constitution.
And there are so many more ladies that have carried us on their backs and will continue to do so. We cannot stop here and we won’t! Let’s make our idols proud and keep up the great work we are doing. Girl power!
Feature Image via Carolamart Tumblr