HUMAN RIGHTS ON SOCIAL MOVEMENT 7
HumanRights on Social Movement
Asmall group of thoughtful citizens with commitment can be an engineof social change. Social movements consist of such groups of peopledesiring to make a change to a current status they find oppressive.Using the conflict theory of change, this paper seeks to discuss thewomen’s right movement as an engine of change fighting for the ideathat women need to have similar rights as men.
Humanrights on the social movement.
Thewomen’s rights movement.
Asocial movement is a large group of individuals or organizationsfocusing on a particular social or political issue. The motive behindthe formation of social change movements is either resistance orcarrying out a change (Weinstein & Weinstein, 2010). A goodexample of such a movement is the Women’s Rights Movement, whichwill be the center for this study. The motivation behind theformation of the women’s rights movement was to fight for women tohave similar rights as men. The primary concern of the movement wasto ensure equality in the social, economic, and political status ofmen and women while at the same time establishing legislative standsagainst discrimination due to gender differences (Faulkner, 2016).From the motive of the formation of the movement, it is evident thatits formation was to carry out a change.
Themilitia political actions among women were first evident in 1903 inBritain following the emergence of the Women’s Social and thePolitical Union advocating for the right of women to vote (Faulkner,2016). There were large-scale demonstrations by women of all ages andclass with the demonstrators being locked out of their meeting areas,thrown down the parliament steps while others were jailed. The changedesired was in the long run achieved with women being granted theright to vote for those with thirty years and above. Constantfighting and demonstrations saw the lowering of the voting age totwenty-one years at 1928.
Theformation of the Women’s Rights Movement works under the guidanceof the conflict theory of change. The conflict theorists stipulatethat the wealthy and the influential members of the society alwaysfind a way of ensuring the maintenance of the status quo withinstitutions and social practices favoring them (Weinstein &Weinstein, 2010). In such a case, change is the only essentialprocess of rectifying the injustices and inequalities. The formationof the Women’s Rights Movement shares the same basis. The earlyleaders of the movement started their fight to end injusticesunderwent by slaves by learning from societies concerned withanti-slavery on how to organize, publicize, and undertake politicalprotests. During their fight, it was evident that the men inopposition to slavery as well as in opposition to women taking activeroles or speech in the abolitionist movement.
Theefforts to silence women by opposing their active role in theAnti-Slavery Conventions in the United States was a motivation to theleaders of the Women’s Rights Movement to hold their firstconvention in 1848 (Faulkner, 2016). In 1850, Lucy Stone led theholding of the National Women’s Rights Convention. A coalition wasformed by two groups in 1863 creating the Women’s National LoyalLeague. The movement was under the administration of Susan Anthony.Antony submitted a proposal to amend the right-to-vote in theconstitution.
Wyomingwas the first state to pass the right-to-vote for women in 1890. Thesuccess of the movement was due to the National American Women’sSuffrage Association formed afterward as well as the Carrie Chapman’selection as the president. The following campaigns composed ofwealthy, educated, and women of influence to the cause. The result ofthe campaigns was professionalism in politics and increased fundingwith subsequent development of massive demonstrations and paradesacross the major cities. There was ratification of the Antonyproposed amendment of 1878 to be the 19th amendment which became lawin 1920. Between 1920 and 1960, there was a diffusion of singleissues into several political groups for women. The groups were insupport of many liberal reforms about the rights of men and women.There was the drafting of an amendment of the equal rights by theNational Women’s Party in 1923. The amendment remained dominant inthe next five decades after its formation.
Accordingto the conflict theory, change is proactive and relies on theapplication of certain tools for individuals wishing to make a change(Weinstein &Weinstein, 2010). The women’s rights movementsapplied these tools and subsequently made progress internationally.The beginning of the United Nations Charter defined equal rights forwomen in 1945, and the 1948 United Nations Commission saw theestablishment of the Status of Women, as well as the holding of theUN General Assembly convention in 1952 regarding the women’spolitical rights (Faulkner, 2016). There was an emphasis on theinternational scope of the women’s rights movement during theUnited Nations women’s Decade from 1976-1985.
Thetool applied in the women’s rights movement was the formation ofmilitant feminist groups. For instance, in the 1960s, there was amilitant feminist trend emergence in the United Nations. A generallegislative climate favoring the minority rights acted as an aid tothe formation of these militant groups. The formation of the Women’sLiberation Movement, was evident in the literature use anddemonstrations by radical feminists is responsible for raisingawareness of the nation to the existence of discriminatory attitudesand beliefs by gender (Faulkner, 2016). Of more significance inbringing about change is the formation of feminist politicalorganizations with the subsequent development of full movements inthe 1970s. A good example was the National Organization for Women(NOW) whose formation was under the administration of Betty Friedanin 1966. The force of women’s rights movement under the Directorateof NOW gave birth to the major issue of ratification of theconstitution’s Equal Rights Amendment (Faulkner, 2016).
Thefocus of women’s rights movement was on various matters such assexual harassment, reproductive rights, and the impediments of womenin advancing in the corporate world. Equally, women continue toadvance politically. For instance, the historical bid for Democraticpresidential nomination by Hillary Clinton in 2008. Women have alsogained considerably in other political areas such as twenty-eightwomen in the House of Representatives of the United States and twoserving in the Senate of the United States. These changes have madewomen advance in various aspects of life. Just as the conflict theoryproposes, there is a need for conflict for the initiation of changeand put to an end the inequalities in the society (Weinstein&Weinstein, 2010). The formation of the women’s rights movementwas driven by the present cases of preferring men over women inplacement to certain roles.
Socialmovements present powerful means or forces of change. The conflicttheory of change proposes that there is a need for application oftools to bring out the desired change. The formation of the women’srights movement alongside the unending demonstrations by womenseeking gender equality are the tools of change in bringing out thedesired equality in the society. The existence of a conflict, whichis the inequality between men and women was desired to bring aboutthe so much needed change. Although the critics of the modelstipulate that the changes do not always result in the desiredchanges, it is evident that the women’s rights movement is asuccess and has made a great milestone in defining the worth andplace of women in the society.
Faulkner,C. (2016). History, Mythology, and Power in the Women’s RightsMovement.Reviews in American History, 44(1),99-103.
Weinstein,J. & Weinstein, J. (2010). Socialchange.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.