On the anniversary of the women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY feminists are keeping one foot firmly planted in the past with a watchful, yet hopeful eye toward the future. Present-day women’s rights activists are proud to say that we can now claim the right and own property and have laws that promise equal education and employment opportunities. Kathy Rodgers of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund commented, “the legal framework of rights for women have been transformed in the last 150 years. In those days when you were married you became one person and that one person was the husband.”
The laws of 1848 created an atmosphere where men sought “absolute tyranny” over women by passing laws that denied a woman’s basic right to vote, own property, or seek a legal divorce and child custody. The slow but steady wave of leveling began in the 1920’s and continues even today where feminist activists still fight tirelessly for equal wages, employment, and health care.
But for many the journey toward equality is still a long one. Nonetheless, Abigail Stewart, director of the Univ. of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women commented, “the world we inhabit is a different world in regard to gender. It’s very important to acknowledge what they did and remember it.”