Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where The Movement Got Its Roots

Last Sunday, my fellow FMF interns and I met at our supervisor's apartment to enjoy a brunch of some delicious strawberry shortcakes and to hang out a little outside of the office. While our gathering was quite informal and benign, July 19 marks a historic day in history. On this same date in 1848 when the First Woman's Rights Convention began in Seneca Falls, New York.

This historic event was several years in the making, beginning when such suffragettes as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha C. Wright, and Jane Hunt were banned from participating in the 1840 World Antislavery Convention in England.

Over 300 people came to the first convention, including 40 men. The Declaration of Sentiment, a document declaring the rights of women similar to the Declaration of Independence, was revised and signed at the end of the convention. Great anti-slavery advocate Frederick Douglass also attended and spoke in his favor of women's rights.

However, as we know, all was not solved after this historic day. The press and religious leaders denounced the happenings at Seneca Falls and it took another 60 years just to get the vote. Such documents like the ERA and CEDAW have yet to be approved and ratified by the US. These facts show that the women's movement is far from finished, just evolving.

Remembering this day in history of where, why, and how the women's movement got it's start helps to reminds us why the fight for women's equal rights is so important. Looking back on this event and the bravery and dedication that these early members of the movement had gives me strength and inspires me to continue in my role as a feminist.

Photo courtesy of psd on flikr.com

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