Women's Liberation Movement Essay

1219 Words Apr 5th, 2005 5 Pages
Women's Liberation Movement

Betty Friedan wrote that "the only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own." The message here is that women need more than just a husband, children, and a home to feel fulfilled; women need independence and creative outlets, unrestrained by the pressures of society. Throughout much of history, women have struggled with the limited roles society imposed on them. The belief that women were intellectually inferior, physically weaker, and overemotional has reinforced stereotypes throughout history. In the 1960s, however, women challenged their roles as "the happy little homemakers." Their story is the story of the Women's Liberation
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After women got the right to vote in 1920, the most devoted members of the women's movement focused on gaining other rights for women. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who had created the National Women's Party in 1916 to work for women's suffrage, turned their efforts toward passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). This amendment, which would make all forms of discrimination based on sex illegal, did not receive significant support and never passed. Arguments against the ERA, advocated by social reformers, such as Florence Kelley and Jane Addams, along with administrators in the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, were that the ERA would, in reality, eliminate protective legislation for women, harming working-class women instead of helping them. Another issue that the Women's Rights Movement undertook was women's reproductive rights. In early 19th century American society, a husband could legally demand sexual intercourse from his wife, even if she didn't consent. Because of this, the issue of birth control began to surface among women activists. Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman started advocating birth control in the 1920s. The American Birth Control League, which would later become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was founded in 1921. Throughout the 1900s, birth control would remain an important issue in the Women's