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Ana AceroEnglish 3 HonorsPeriod 4Mrs. sawh03-16-2024

Research Women's Rights Movement



Shirley Chisholm

Pauli Murray

Betty Friedan

Gloria Steinem

Movement Leaders


Second Wave

First Wave


Historical Context


What is the Women's Rights Movement...

  • Was a social movement, largely based in the United States, during the 60s and 70s decades.
  • Its main goal was for equal rights and opportunities in a large base area, such as politics, employment, family, and sexuality.
  • It is known as the "second wave" of feminism.
  • Their leaders have influenced millions of girls and women to fight for their rights and to not take a "no" for an answer.
  • The Women's Rights Movement has come from a long and difficult past to today's society.

The Reason Behind It...

  • If someone had told women from the 19th century how women from the 21st century lived, they probably could not believe it.
  • During the beginning of the 19th century, society was faced with tons of inequalities and injustices, not only between races but also between genders.
  • At that time, women were not involved in political matters such as the right to vote, could not sue or be sued, and were not able to testify in court.
  • In social matters, women did not have a role in the public eye.
  • Their role was to be subservient to their husbands and fathers.
  • For the upper- and middle classes, their position was domestic affairs, such as running the household and raising the children.
  • On the other hand, low-class women had to work outside the home with low salaries as domestic servants or in factories.
  • Married women were dead in the eyes of the law, since they did not have the right to their property, the husband would take full responsibility for their wives, having the power of physical punishment, and also in cases of divorce the husband would take custody of the children.

Marriage Is An Economic Preposition...

The following clip is an example of how women felt during the 19th century about their societal status. This clip is from the 2019 version of the movie "Little Women", directed and written by Greta Gerwig and cast with Florence Pugh and Timothée Chalamet. The movie is based on the novel "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott, who narrates the story of the March sisters and their journeys after the Civil War.

First Wave of Feminism...

  • Everything started in 1848 when reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held a convention in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss women's social, civil, and religious conditions.
  • During the convention they created the Declaration of Sentiments, which stated that “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • This resulted in the creation of the Women's Suffrage Movement and the fight for women's right to vote, which were granted 72 years later in 1920 when Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
  • Even though these women fought for their rights, the 19th Amendment was just for white women, excluding black women and Native Americans.
  • The first wave of feminism was marked primarily just for upper and middle-class women, leading the path for the second wave.

Second Wave of Feminism...

  • The second wave of feminism started around 1963 and lasted until the 1980s.
  • Due to the last two wars, society had to change to survive. This resulted in letting women from all social classes and races start working, which resulted in leaving domestic duties.
  • After these changes, society still discriminated against women with inequality in the workplace, having an Ivy League education, getting on the birth control pill, serving on a jury, getting a credit card, and sexual harassment in and outside the marriage.
  • In 1963, Betty Freidman published "The Feminine Mystique" which aroused American society from how women were oppressed. That same year the Equal Pay Act was passed which put a stop on the gender pay gap.
  • A year later, Congress passed Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting employment discrimination.
  • In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded to address the needs of women such as Blacks, Latinas, Asians, lesbians, and much more.
  • Title IX for later introduced in the Education Codes of 1972 to guarantee equal access to higher education and also in sports.
  • In 1973, the Supreme Court guaranteed reproductive freedom in the case of "Rose v. Wade".
  • Besides, many women started to speak of sexual harassment and their experiences withabuse, rape, and consent.


Even though women still have to fight for equality and respect, some factors led to modern feminism and are still shaping every day. Nowadays many women have access to birth control and abortion. They can report sexual harassment, play sports, and get access to higher education.









Movement Leaders...

Most famous feminists in American history.

Co-founded the National Organization for Women.

Wrote "The Feminine Mystique".

First African American woman to be elected to Congress.


  • Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934, in Toledo, Ohio.
  • Steinem experienced a difficult childhood with her parents' divorce in 1964, the responsibility of taking care of her mother who suffered from depression, and her education.
  • After graduating from Smith College in 1956, she went to India thanks to a scholarship, where she participated in nonviolent protests against the government.
  • Four years later, Steinem returned to the US and worked as a journalist in New York City in 1960.
  • She started gaining fame after her article "I Was a Playboy Bunny" where she narrated her experience as a waitress at the Playboy Club in 1963.
  • She started to be more involved in the Women's rights movement by founding the National Women's Political Caucus in July 1971. She also created "Ms." magazine for women that same year which focused on feminism, issues of women, and domestic violence.
  • Steinem started being more active in political organizations and became an articulate advocate for the women's movement.
  • She published her collection of essays in 1983 "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions".
  • In 2013 Gloria Steinem was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Gloria Steinem

  • Anne Pauline Murray was born on November 20, 1910, in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Murray was a descendant of African Americans, Native Americans, and North Carolina slave owners.
  • Until the age of six, she was an orphan. She would later live with her aunt Pauline Fitzgerald and her maternal grandparents, Cornelia and Robert Fitzgerald in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Murray would avoid Jim Crow laws at any cost, instead of riding a segregated bus, she would walk or ride a bike.
  • She would move to New York City to finish her high school education and would enroll at Hunter College.
  • During her stay in New York, she experienced the Harlem Renaissance and met the famous poet Langston Hughes.
  • Murray was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
  • Not only was she a leader for the women's rights movement, but also for the civil rights movement, fighting against Jim Crow laws and coining the term "Jane Crow".
  • Murray's activism led to the arguments used for the "Brown v. Board of Education".
  • She co-authored the "Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII" which addressed race and gender discrimination.
  • Murray also contributed to different movements such as Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and LGBTQ rights. .




  • Betty Friedan was born on February 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois.
  • She graduated in 1942 from Smith College with a degree in psychology.
  • Friedan published in 1963 "The Feminine Mystique" which narrated the study of different women about their lives.
  • Her book would be credited as the spark for the beginning of the second wave of feminism.
  • Friedan would describe that time's society as a designated role that required a woman's intellectual, economic, and emotional reliance on her husband.
  • She would co-found the National Organization for Women (NOW), and would become president later on.
  • Friedan would organized the Women's Strike for Equality in 1970, which took place on the 50th anniversary of the women's suffrage movement.
  • She would lead the campaign for the proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Friedan work's helped shaped American society and path the way for gender equality and a change for women's roles.


Betty Friedan


  • Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn New York.
  • She would spend her childhood with her grandmother in Barbados.
  • Chisholm would graduate from Brooklyn College in 1946, and work as a teacher.
  • Later on, she would earn a master's degree in elementary education at Columbia University.
  • She would represent New York's 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1983.
  • Chisholm would advocate for racial and gender equality throughout her career.
  • In 1972, she would become the first African American woman to be nominated for President of the United States.
  • She would survive three assassination attempts during her campaign for the Democratic nomination.
  • Chisholm would co-found the National Organization for Women (NOW).
  • Throughout her whole career, she fought for rights such as education, healthcare, and special justice for women.
  • She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Thanks to her contributions, Chisholm led the way for more women and African Americans into politics, which years later would give fruit for the first African American president Barak Obama.



After deep research on the Women’s Rights Movement, I feel honored and thankful for these brave leaders who decided to make a change for their people. I am able to get an education, go to college, work the job I want, and have a fair salary, I can get birth control pills if I decide to, and abortion in some states too. I hope the women who fought for women's equality and died too soon to be able to see it achieved know that their dreams have fruit for the world they wished they could live in.



Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Betty Friedan.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 5 Mar. 2024, www.britannica.com/biography/Betty-Friedan. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Gloria Steinem.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 6 Dec. 2023, www.britannica.com/biography/Gloria-Steinem. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Pauli Murray.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 17 Dec. 2023, www.britannica.com/biography/Pauli-Murray. Burkett, Elinor. “Women’s Rights Movement.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 7 Mar. 2024, www.britannica.com/event/womens-movement. Center, Population Media. “A History of the Goals of Women’s Rights Movements.” Population Media Center, Population Media Center, 12 Nov. 2020, www.populationmedia.org/the-latest/history-of-womens-suffrage. Editors, Biography.com. “Betty Friedan Biography.” The Biography.Com Wesite, 8 Mar. 2024, www.biography.com/activists/betty-friedan. Editors, Biography.com. “Gloria Steinem Biography.” The Biography.Com Wesite, 5 Mar. 2024, www.biography.com/activists/gloria-steinem. Editors, Biography.com. “Shirley Chisholm Biography.” The Biography.Com Wesite, 4 May 2021, www.biography.com/political-figures/shirley-chisholm. Editors, History.com. “Women’s Suffrage.” History.Com, A&E Television Networks, 20 Feb. 2024, www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage.


Eisenberg, Bonnie, and Mary Ruthsdotter. “History of the Women’s Rights Movement.” National Women’s History Alliance, 2024, nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/history-of-the-womens-rights-movement/. “Little Women (2019) - Marriage Is an Economic Proposition Scene (3/10) | Movieclips.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Mar. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D8nRpJsQlk. McLaughlin, Katie. “5 Things Women Couldn’t Do in the 1960s.” CNN, Cable News Network, 25 Aug. 2014, www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/living/sixties-women-5-things/index.html. Michals, Debra. “Biography: Shirley Chisholm.” National Women’s History Museum, 2015, www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/shirley-chisholm. Olito, Frank. “10 Powerful Figures from the Women’s Liberation Movement You Might Not Know.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 8 Mar. 2023, www.businessinsider.com/womens-rights-leaders-60s-70s-2021-3. PEOPLE. “The Past and Future of the Women’s Rights Movement | Women’s History Month | PEOPLE.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Mar. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9wUVgEwS40. Rothberg, Emma. “Pauli Murray.” National Women’s History Museum, 2021, www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/pauli-murray. “Women In The 19th Century: Introduction.” Encyclopedia.Com, Encyclopedia.com, 14 Mar. 2024, www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/women-19th-century-introduction.

‘The art of acting morally is behaving as if everything we do matter.’

‘One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement.’

‘If I can help to bring about the change and move in that direction, I will have made my contribution.’

‘It is better for a woman to compete impersonally in society, as men do, than to compete for dominance in her own home with her husband, compete with her neighbors for empty status, and so smother her son that he cannot compete at all.’