Basic human rights are free, and must be granted to everyone by law. Rights like these include all exclusion from slavery, discrimination, torture, and more. Men and women are to be treated fairly, and everyone possesses the right to vote. However, life has not always been this way. Nearly seventy years ago, fundamental human rights were made and set equal for men and women alike.
In ancient history, women were treated like objects and divorced easily for small problems or mistakes. If the wife had produced no offspring, the husband may have remarried if he wished. The only consequence the male would face would be to return her property, and, under certain circumstances, to pay her a fine. Women had no say in the divorce, and were often treated like slaves. The role of a woman in ancient times was simple; she was to look after the home and provide care to her family. Upper Class women studied literature, but this was not seen very often.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, women were commonly accused of witchcraft. At this point in time, women were often viewed as disgusting and sneaky, but slightly seductive. Thousands of executions were taking place at this time, 95% of which were women. On top of this, men dictated a large portion of the women’s lives, including their personal properties and the grounds of divorce. Even the children belonged to the husband, instead of the wife. Rape was legal within marriage as well.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the idea of women’s equal rights became more popular. Later into the 18th century, political debates hotly discussed woman’s suffrage and whether or not it was to be put into play. However, it seemed as though the popular idea was that women were simply inferior to men, and the idea of granting equal rights was just unnecessary. This was the case until several pieces of literature were released that expressed the importance of equality for men and women around the 1790’s. One of these pieces argued that the reason women could not perform and function the way that people desired was because they were not raised and educated sufficiently to complete the job. Writers like Catharine Macaulay and Damaris Cudworth argued that women have more potential because they were rational humans with morals, just like everyone else.
Seeing the immoral aspect of gender-oppressive daily life, many people began to question whether or not what they were doing to women was evil. Many of these people tried to make changes and differences in the way that certain things were done, such as replacing the phrase “man” to “person”, but were laughed at and made fun of, because their opinions and ideas were different and uncommon at the time. The stance on women voting was very strictly prohibited since the Reform Act of 1832, until 1918, when a bill was passed which allowed women to vote if they were over thirty years of age. The cause of this bill was the campaigns that were led and the constant push by women for their suffrage.
Nonviolent protests took place all the time. Women led marches and stood up for themselves to defend their rights. While they caused no physical damage, the result was rather catastrophic. Many of the protestors were brutally attacked by onlookers. They were spit on, and several objects were thrown at them. Beauty standards were also
pointed out, and the protesters showed the public how women could easily be compared to cattle. One of the protests was called the “‘Bra Burning’ Miss America Protest”. In this event, women publicly threw away beauty products like high heels and makeup, as well as their bras. It is rumored that the trash can was set on fire, thus creating the name of this event. However, it may have been a flame-free protest.
Later into the 1900’s, women finally began to see a substantial breakthrough in what rights they were granted. The 19th amendment, passed June 14, 1919 and ratified August 18, 1920, allowed women to vote. The amendment finally put an end to almost a century’s worth of protest. On top of their right to vote, women received more basic human rights and were treated less like animals and more like moral human beings. They were allowed to buy their own property and make their own decisions. More strict laws were put into place regarding divorce and the legal agreements that follow, and the aftermath of rape trials.
Today, in 2018, women have the same rights as men and are able to work where they please, and they are not judged quite as harshly if they decide to work in a man’s typical field of work or not at all. Many people argue that women are still not completely treated equally and that their paychecks are not balanced the same. There are also many theories that women’s products and men’s products that are the same but made in different colors, blue and pink, are priced differently, based solely on the sex it was designed for instead of the product’s function. Whether or not the treatment of men and women is completely fair, it is safe to say that the rights that women possess have come a very long way since the ancient times and have progressed steadily since.
In all, evolution of women’s rights has been prominent all around the world since the early times. It started as men having full control over women and, as a result, women having no say in certain things like their properties, divorce, or children. Women were often seen as witches and executed with little to no evidence. Men could easily get away with raping women and leaving them freely unless they produced offspring. They were not allowed to vote, and their sole purpose was to take care of the house and the family After continuous protests, women finally gained the right to vote, and were treated like humans with morals. Today, women have regular jobs and can do as they wish. Nobody has control over a woman’s body except for herself. As these changes continue, women will continue to obtain more and more freedom and rights and will eventually be 100% oppression-free.