Beginning with the early nineteen hundreds, women from all over the country have bounded together, forming leagues and clubs for equal rights. However, it wasn’t until today “at the dawn of the twenty-first century, states and international community can no longer refute the fact that humanity is made up of two sexes, not just one” (Oliveria 26). Why has the woman’s move for equality just now started to balance itself out? Well, the answer is quite simple; women are just now being looked at as semi-equals. They are beginning to become corporate executives in businesses, and popular in the field of medicine and law. Women have tried hard to push themselves forward in society to create a balanced and harmonious economy and so far it has been successful. Barriers of all kinds have been broken, well, all except a few, mainly in politics and with the information I have collected I will show why.
Politics…when one stops and thinks of the word “politics” what naturally comes to mind? Our founding fathers, Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; the popular political figures of today, President Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Al Gore; or do we think about Belva Ann Lockwood, Jeannette Rankin, Frances Perkins, and Eugenie Moore – who? When American’s think about politics, Lyn Kathlene, journalist for the “Higher Education Chronicles,” states that “ninety-five percent of the time they envision a man who is in charge of running, or helping to run, their country.” Is society to blame for this misconception that women do not hold important roles in government and participate in making important decisions for our country? Not really, people just don’t hear or read about women in politics as often as they do about men.
As most people learn throughout elementary and junior high or middle school, our nation first formed government in 1776 when Thomas Jefferson first drafted our constitution. During this time women did not have a role in government, nor would they for the next one hundred and eight years, until a woman would try to run for office. “In 1884, Belva Ann Lockwood – the first woman to try a case before the United States Supreme Court – ran for Presidency” (Arenofsky 14). Well, to no surprise she lost, but her groundbreaking campaign made it possible and easier for Jeannette Rankin, thirty-three years later, to run and become elected to Congress for the state of Montana. However, even with this groundbreaking experience, women were still looked down upon for their lack of experience.
It wasn’t until 1920 when women’s suffrage ended and the nineteenth amendment to the constitution, granting women the right to vote, that women were formally introduced into politics. However, even with voting privileges, women were still looked at as weak feeble creatures. The lack of confidence and the inability to be seen as strong-minded females who were not afraid to voice their opinion hurt the female gender immensely. It wasn’t until “Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, crisscrossed the country speaking about social problems and serving as the quintessential role model for the politically active female” that women began to witness how to present themselves with confidence (Arenofsky 14).
Finally, with women’s confidence on the rise and their new understanding and attitudes toward government, women were starting to attain a higher status in the political arena. The big break for women came from the decision by “President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1933 appointed Frances Perkins to the cabinet as Secretary of labor” (Hogan 4). With this “big break,” women were finally moving forward in government and there was no looking back.
So, after all of this hard work and dedication by early feminists to achieve a voice in politics, was it worth the struggles and did it pay off? Rosiska Darcy de Oliveria, journalist for the “United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Courier,” believes so. She states, “women’s rise to power and their participation in politics are the vital signs of a healthy democracy,” which would make good sense since the United States is a free country where everyone is suppose to be equal to their neighbor (26). However, others believe that “political women are