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Posts Tagged ‘women’s rights’

Challenge Your Students to This Women’s History Quiz!

How well do you know U.S. women’s history?

To celebrate Women’s History Month, take this Playbuzz quiz to see if you can pair up the correct state with an event in U.S. women’s history. Each question is based on facts taken from SIRS Issues Researcher timelines, including the one for our Women’s Rights Leading Issue.

(If you can’t view the matching game below, you can access it on PlayBuzz.)

What are you doing with your students to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Tweet us at #ProQuest or comment below!

96 Years After the 19th Amendment, the First Female Presidential Candidate

“When my mother was born, women did not have the right to vote, so we’ve come,
in really just a few generations, having to fight for the right to vote
to finally a potential woman head of state.”
–Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton

Women Marching in 1913 Suffragette Parade, Washington, DC [public domain] via National Archives and Records Administration

Women Marching in 1913 Suffragette Parade, Washington, DC
[public domain] via National Archives and Records Administration

The first efforts to achieve women’s suffrage began before the Civil War. In 1848, a group of over 300 men and women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to hold the first women’s rights convention. It took more than 70 years for American women to eventually gain that right.

Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920. On August 26, it was formally adopted into the Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

Though women finally achieved the right to vote, their struggle for equal representation in government has continued, and today they are still largely underrepresented in elected offices all across the nation. It took almost a full century for the first woman to be nominated for the office of president by a major political party, when Hillary Rodham Clinton secured the Democratic party’s nomination this year.

Below are a few more firsts by American women in government and politics:

Rankin, Jeanette. Rep. from Montana, 1917-1919. Leaving White House [public domain] via Library of Congress

Rankin, Jeanette. Rep. from Montana, 1917-1919. Leaving White House
[public domain] via Library of Congress

1887: Susanna Medora Salter became the first woman elected mayor of an American town, in Argonia, Kansas.

1916: Montana Republican Jeannette Rankin carries the distinction of being the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

1924: Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming became the Nation’s first female governor when she was elected to succeed her deceased husband, William Bradford Ross.

1932: Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

1933: Frances Perkins is appointed secretary of labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, making her the first woman to serve as a member of a U.S. presidential cabinet.

1964: Senator Margaret Chase Smith from Maine becomes the first woman formally nominated for president of the United States by a major political party, at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco.

Sandra Day O'Connor Being Sworn in As Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger, Her Husband John O'Connor Looks On [public domain] via National Archives and Records Administration

Sandra Day O’Connor Being Sworn in As Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger, Her Husband John O’Connor Looks On
[public domain] via National Archives and Records Administration

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court, making her its first woman justice.

1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman nominated for vice-president on a major party ticket.

1993: Dr. Sheila E. Widnall was the first woman to head a branch of the U.S. military as Secretary of the Air Force. The first female U.S. attorney general, Janet Reno was confirmed 98-0 by the U.S. Senate.

1997: Madeleine Albright https://www.britannica.com/biography/Madeleine-Albright is sworn in as the first female U.S. secretary of state.

2007: Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Hillary Rodham Clinton at 2016 Democratic National Convention By JefParker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Rodham Clinton at 2016 Democratic National Convention
By JefParker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

According to the World Economic Forum, 63 of 142 countries in the world have had a female leader at some point in the past 50 years, but the United States has never had one in its 240-year history. Why has it taken so long? And will 2016 finally be the year? We’ll find out on November 8!

Welcome to Congress, Bella Abzug!

Bella Abzug Research Topic

Bella Abzug Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

On this date in 1970, Bella Abzug was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. And that was just one of many accomplishments of this icon of the Women’s Movement. Here are some of the highlights of her career.

First things first: The hats. Bella was nearly always seen wearing a hat: pic, pic, pic. This began when she was a young lawyer, as she wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t be mistaken for a secretary. It became her trademark.

Career as a lawyer: She was a successful lawyer at a time when there weren’t many women in the profession, and during her time in practice she defended people targeted during the McCarthyism era and also took on civil rights cases, most notably that of Willie McGee, a black man facing execution for the alleged rape of a white woman.

Activism: Bella was a vigorous activist for many causes, including women’s rights (she pushed for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment),  and peace (she was a co-founder of Women Strike for Peace and protested against the Vietnam War).

House of Representatives: Running on the campaign slogan “This woman’s place is in the house–the House of Representatives,” in 1970 Abzug won a seat in Congress (the first Jewish woman to do so), where she quickly became known for her outspokenness in support of her beliefs. On her first day she put forth a resolution to withdraw American soldiers from the Vietnam War and later was the first politician to call for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment. Among other activities, she broke new ground by introducing gay-rights legislation and called for an investigation of feared F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover.

After Congress: After choosing not to run for a fourth term in 1976, Abzug made an unsuccessful run for Senate, then later also lost in bids for New York City mayor and in two efforts to get back to Congress. Despite her electoral failures, she remained very active politically, and continued her longtime crusade to bring awareness to women’s issues.

Bella Abzug fought breast cancer and heart disease and died in 1998, but “Battling Bella” will always be remembered for her trailblazing career and her unwavering fight to raise the status of American women.

Related Research Topics:

Women’s Rights

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Women’s History

House of Representatives

Education Activist Malala Yousafzai: “Books Not Bullets!”

Infographic: Girls' Education Access

On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman stormed Malala Yousafzai’s school bus in Pakistan, asked for her by name, and shot her in the head. The Taliban tried to silence Malala, an outspoken advocate for girls’ education rights. Malala survived. Her voice has soared. Since the attack, Malala has continued to fight for education access, particularly for girls.

Girls worldwide face specific challenges because of their gender. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 31 million girls of primary school age are denied access to education. Two-thirds of illiterate people worldwide are female. World conflicts, poverty, health-related issues, childhood marriage, pregnancy, and biased cultural attitudes are all factors that limit girls’ access to education. Increased education access improves social outcomes, such as lowering maternal childbirth rates, improving the health of families, and narrowing the gender wage gap.

When Malala turned 18 in July 2015, she addressed the issue of education funding. Her message to the world: “Books not bullets!” Malala called on world leaders to divert a portion of military spending to fund education. She cited an Education for All Global Monitoring Project study, which found that if the world halted military spending for eight days, the savings would be enough to fund 12 years of free education for every child in the world. This proposal, outlined in a Malala Fund report, demonstrates that funding for universal education is within reach.

The Twitter campaign #booksnotbullets features people around the world showing their support for education access by showcasing their favorite books. Books open worlds, bullets close them. Malala’s inspiring words remind us all, especially during the back-to-school season, that education should be our top priority.

Share your #booksnotbullets images with us on Twitter @ProQuest.

Remembering Those Who Dedicated Their Lives to Women’s Rights

At the core of any social movement are those who envision it, persuade others to join it, and propel it into social consciousness. The American women’s rights movement is no different. Many women contributed to its evolution and escalation throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. We can thank these women for its victories. We pay tribute to these women by continuing the struggle for women’s equality in the United States and around the world.

"Women Suffragists Marching, New York City, 1913" <br \> by Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

“Women Suffragists Marching, New York City, 1913”
by Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

There are many unnamed women who struggled for women’s rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. They contributed their time, efforts, and wisdom, and helped generate outcomes that we may take for granted today. We can’t know every name and honor them accordingly. But there are a significant few who are worthy of our attention, and their lives and accomplishments deserve to be celebrated in the classroom.

We all know the names and accomplishments of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Mott was a passionate abolitionist and a strident forerunner of the women’s rights movement. She helped to organize the Seneca Falls women’s rights convention of 1848, and also presided over the American Equal Rights Association. She inspired Anthony and Stanton, who, with other likeminded women, worked tirelessly for the women’s rights movement after Mott’s death in 1880. These two pioneering women cofounded the National Woman Suffrage Association and jointly published the women’s newspaper, The Revolution. They enacted changes in laws that empowered women, including one that allowed women to own property in their name. Mott, Anthony, or Stanton did not live to see the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, but these three leaders played crucial roles in its development and approval.

“Women Suffragists Picketing in Front of the White House, 1917” by Library of Congress
via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher [Public Domain]

Sojourner Truth is a well-known advocate of both African American and women’s rights. She was a passionate abolitionist before and during the Civil War, speaking when and where she could against the inhumanity of slavery. When the Civil War concluded, she dedicated her life to obtaining rights for African Americans and for women. Despite her lack of formal education, her lectures powerfully impacted listeners and galvanized the women’s rights movement.

Julia Ward Howe may be best remembered for her Civil War folk song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but she also was very active in the women’s suffrage movement, was an editor of the Commonwealth newspaper, wrote poetry, authored books, and was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She also helped to establish “Mother’s Day” in the United States in 1872.

Lucy Stone and her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, are 19th- and 20th-century women reformers, respectively, who made unique contributions to the movement. Not only did Lucy strive for slave emancipation, but she cofounded the American Woman Suffrage Association. She and her husband, also a fervent feminist, launched the weekly newspaper Woman’s Journal in 1870. Their daughter, Alice, continued their tradition of activism for women’s rights as a writer, editor, and suffragist.

Carrie Chapman Catt is a lesser-known, but no less important, figure in the women’s right’s movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1920, at the time of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, she was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). One year later, she founded the National League of Women Voters, which prepared women for citizenship. Her accomplishments go beyond voting laws: she was the first woman to be a superintendent of schools and she was an avid antiwar advocate.

During the month of March, join SKS and SIRS Discoverer in honoring these and other remarkable women who made lasting contributions to women’s rights. The SKS Spotlight of the Month and the SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month feature articles, photos, and Web sites that emphasize the cultural, societal, and political influences of women today and throughout history.