Did the right to vote really empower women after 1919? Was there sustained change?

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Question: Did the right to vote really empower women after 1919? Was there sustained change?
The traditional view which was put by many of women in society was to stay at home, clean and raise
children, however by the period after 1919 this view started to transform which highlights clearly how
women getting their rights back leading to the right to vote really helped them establish their own
individualities. Although the progress for women's rights did take a while, due to an international crisis
which was the event of WW2 which occurred in the 1940's allowed the claims of the suffragists to be
taken seriously and into consideration, even though the suffragist movement progressed slowly their
efforts did have an effect on the government. The movement brought in the inequality of voting
restrictions to public attention, this public attention combined with the heroic services of women in
industries during WW1 where women started to work in factories, mills which initially resulted in the
passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States (1920), as the 19th amendment
provided both men and women with equal voting rights which allowed women to re-gain access to
outside domestic life. Which presents to a greater extent the right to vote did encourage majority of
women within the USA to become even stronger in terms of working and being free, but the right to
vote was not the essential element in some of the American women's eyes as it can be argued that
there was little evidence put forward to show that the vote was used by women to promote significant
change as although the 19th amendment contributed and helped women with some triumph, overall
many of the middle-class women campaigners/reformers failed to make further change because they
were unsure in how to use the vote to improve conditions for themselves and increase opportunities
which brings to the point although vote did provide some useful help for women's rights they were
many other factors such as the success in social reforms which significantly helped women onto the social
ladder of gaining equal rights.
The factor of right to vote did effect in some ways government legislations and rights for women, as in
March 1933 Franklin Roosevelt's proposal of the New Deal contained policies which were biased
towards the male breadwinners and raised the aspirations for women, although women benefited for
some of the new reforms put in place, the policy addressed mainly the wider social and economic issues.
Which shows how although the government stated they will help women in practice this did not occur, so
aspects such as the 19th amendment did not really trigger the federal governments minds as women to
them were seen as just the labour and domestic workers. Although the New Deal did however contain
some useful elements for women in order to gain rights, the government addressed these acts for
certain groups of women not covering all women. For example the Aid to Dependent Children (1935)
helped women with young families who were unable to work and had no male to provide for them;
however these benefits mainly helped white women who were obliged to go through this process of
It can be argued although the right to vote did not really play a large contribution for women's
livelihoods many feminist groups still chose to take up the cause of equal rights for women and began to
campaign for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which started from 1923. The ERA was constantly
presented to Congress between 1923 and 1970. This campaign was mainly led through Phyllis Schlafly
where in 1972 the ERA was finally passed through Congress, although it made slow progression many
radical feminist supporters started to re-think their views about the true meaning of equality and getting
it back for women, as the ERA represented and treated men and women as equal and identical rather

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The ERA eventually led to many other changes for women not
only in the voting system but also in employment, as the emergence of the Employment Opportunity Act
of 1972 helped women gain the confidence in getting a job, and also the 14th amendment which
provided equal protection under the law for all citizens of the United States.…read more


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