Feminist jurisprudence

Feminism A legal theory in feminism especially in the period of 1840 to 1870 included abolitionism which gave rise to the women’s movement who in their quest for equal rights of women that included the ownership to property and right to vote, the sort out to abolish slavery as well. Abolitionism garnered male supporters for the women’s movement like Frederick Douglass, Henry Blackwell and William Lloyd Garrison. 1 The First Wave of the Feminist Movement.

The Women’s Suffrage Movement The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States in the period 1848-1920, formed a significant of the “First Wave” of the Feminist Movement.Woman suffrage is defined as the right of women to vote. The Women’s Suffrage Movement is the organized efforts to bring the right to vote to women. The 19th Amendment was an amendment to the US Constitution that was passed in 1819 and ratified on August 18th, 1920. 1t granted American women the right to vote, a right known as woman suffrage. Women’s suffrage has been granted at various times in various countries throughout the world.

The Origins of the Suffrage Movement Women in the 1800s. Women couldn’t vote, hold public office, or sit on Juries. In most states, a woman’s property became her husband’s when they married.Men who physically abused their wives were rarely. Before the campaign for woman suffrage began in earnest in 1848 women had been very active in the abolition movement. Proponents of the Suffrage Movement. Advocates of Women’s rights such as Sojourner Truth and the Grimke sisters had given public speeches against slavery and even about women’s rights. Many people considered their actions inappropriate for women in that time.

Before the Civil War, black and white men and women worked together for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. Frederick Douglass, an advocate for equal rights in the UnitedStates, demanded the vote for women in 1848. The Grimk?© sisters, nationally prominent abolitionists, connected the inequalities of women, both white and black, with slavery. Women in the abolition movement recognized parallels between the legal condition of slaves and that of women. The radical abolition movement had the greatest impact on women’s rights. Participation in the Anti-Slavery movement helped women develop public-speaking and argumentative skills that carried over into the women’s rights movement. Both white and black women were excluded from full membership in the American Anti-Slavery Society until 1840.

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Women responded by forming their own separate female auxiliaries and by 1848. The Seneca Falls Convention The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was the “birthplace of the women’s rights movement. ” Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott called together the first conference to address women’s rights. It came to be known as Seneca Falls Convention. The conference was called together after Mott and Stanton were not allowed to speak at the world anti-slavery convention, even though Mott had been an official delegate.

Conference took place in Seneca Falls, New York, July 1848. experience led her into the struggle for women’s rights.Born in Johnstown, New York, November 12, 181 5, before centering her energy on women’s rights, Cady was active in the abolition movement. She drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration with the help of Martha C.

Wright, Lucretia Mott and Mary Ann McClintock. Along with Susan B. Anthony, Stanton founded the National Women’s Suffrage Association in 1869. She began the women’s rights newsletter “The Revolution. ” She died in October 26, 1902.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass argued that voting rights would give women the political power they needed to win other rights.Elizabeth Cady Stanton nd Lucretia Mott met in 1848 to organize the convention to promote “the social, civil, and religious rights of women. ” inspired by their experience at the World Anti-Slavery Convention. The women wrote out their complaints in a document modeled on the Declaration of Independence. The document was also called Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions The Seneca Falls meeting attracted 250 sympathizers, including 40 men. Among them, famous abolitionist leader Fredrick Douglas attended.

The delegates who attended the conference believed that women should be afforded better opportunities for education, equal relationship within marriage nd employment. Also that American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities. What this meant, among other things, was that the delegates believed women should have the right to vote. The Seneca Falls Declaration was signed that day. With regards to property, the legislatures in state after state ultimately passed the Marriage Property Act that was formulated to deal with the problems of common law coverture restrictions in place at the time. The Seneca Falls Declaration of 1848 outlined the women’s rights movement of the mid-19th century. As can be seen in the opening passages, the document was odeled after the Declaration of Independence.

“… We hold these truths to be self- evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their Just powers from the consent of the governed. 3 It compared the treatment of women by men to the way the British King had treated the colonists.

Contained a list of grievances and resolutions for change “… The history of mankind is a history of epeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her…. He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.

He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she has no voice.. “4 The women demanded to be given all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States. The Declaration of Sentiments ended with a call for women’s suffrage and after much debate and discussion, the suffrage resolution narrowly passed. Other Laws on equality included the 14th and 1 5th amendments hat were passed between 1868 and 1870. The 15th amendment granted African- American men the right to vote. This disappointed many women who thought African American men and women would be enfranchised together.This led to a split between African Americans over whether men should get vote before women.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution added “male” to its definition of eligible voters. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were furious that Congress had given the vote to black men but denied it to women. Susan B. Anthony was a skilled organizer who built the women’s movement into a national organization. In the 1830s, she began fghting for women’s property rights, as well as equal pay for women.In 1849 she began working against the use of alcohol. She participated in the founding of several women’s rights organizations until 1900, when she retired.

Her work led to her commemoration on a $1 coin from 1979 to 1999. Susan B. Anthony tried several times to introduce an Amendment bill in the late 1800s, but it was always killed in the Senate. In 1851, Anthony and Stanton began to work together but because Stanton wanted a more radical women’s rights platform than Just voting rights, the two sometimes disagreed.For many years, the two women crossed the nation giving speeches and trying to persuade the government that society should treat men and women equally.

In a speech, given following her arrest for attempting to vote in the 1872 election, Anthony argues that respect for America’s fundamental principles requires that women be allowed to vote. “In thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s right, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any State to deny. Sojourner Truth, famous for her abolitionist speeches, also spoke powerfully n behalf of women’s rights. She was an African American Woman who was a former slave famous for her “Ain’t I a Woman? ” speech at a women’s convention in 1851. Her speech was powerful and it presented a graphic reminder of the racial and class issues that divided women. 5 Maria Mitchell was a famous astronomer whose Quaker upbringing taught that men and women were intellectually equal. She helped found the Association for the Advancement of Women in 1873.Following the convention, the idea of voting rights for women was mocked in the press and some delegates withdrew their support for the Declaration of Sentiments.

However, Stanton and Mott ersisted and they went ahead to spearhead additional women’s rights conferences and they were eventually Joined in their advocacy work by Susan B Anthony and other activists. A suffrage amendment was introduced in Congress in 1868 and a later version referred to as the Anthony Amendment was introduced in 1878 and every subsequent year until 1896, when it disappeared from the congressional agenda until 1913. The demand for woman suffrage presented a vision of independent women that seemed to threaten social structures. Many men and some women believed that women were not suited to vote because they could not think learly and independently. Church leaders taught that women by nature were believed to be dependent on men and subordinate to them.

Many thought that women’s place was in the home, caring for husband and children. The argued that entry of women into political life might lead to disruption of the family.The Second Wave of the Feminist Movement The second-wave of the Women’s Movement, Feminist Movement, or the Women’s Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted throughout the late 1970s. Whereas first- ave feminism focused mainly on overturning legal obstacles to equality that is, voting rights and property rights, the second-wave feminism successfully addressed sexuality, family, the workplace, and, perhaps most controversially, reproductive rights.

The modern Women’s Rights Movement of the 1960s was a second wave of activism.The women’s movement of the 1960s drew inspiration from the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jnr. It was made up of members of the middle class and it was also caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s sparked by the development of the birth-control pill in 1960 The modern women’s liberation ovement is usually believed to have begun in 1963, when “Mother of the Movement” Betty Freidan published her bestseller, “The Feminine Mystique”. In 1964, President John F.

Kennedys Presidential Commission on the Status of Women then released its report on gender inequality.The report revealed great discrimination against women in American life-causing discontent in many women. Changes that took place on the home front during World War II such as the expansion of the role of women in the workplace helped to lay the foundation for the women’s rights movement. However women were displaced from their wartime Jobs by returning eterans and many returned in the 1940’s and 1950’s to the traditional role of housewife and mother. The years following World War II saw a major push for returning women to their pre-war positions as homemakers.

The consumer culture impacted the role of women as increasingly their role as chief consumer of the family was emphasized through advertising. Media, both TV and print glorified the role of traditional homemaker. There were columns, books and articles by experts telling women their role was to seek fulfillment as wives and mothers. Career opportunities for women were limited to nursing, teaching, domestic service, social work, retail ales and secretarial work. Few were promoted to managerial positions and their pay was significantly less than what men earned Betty Freidan Betty Freidan was born on February 4, 1921.In her book, she depicted the roles of women in industrial societies.

She focused most of her attention on the housewife role of women. She referred to the problem of gender roles as “the problem without a name”. The book became a bestseller and was the cause for the second wave of feminism in the 1960s. In ‘The Feminine Mystique,’ Betty Freidan writes about a unique problem that women faced during the 50’s and 60’s. Freidan documented the emotional and intellectual oppression that middle-class educated women were experiencing because of limited life options.

The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her usband at night–she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question–“ls this all? Women were living ungratifying lives as housewives by not pursuing a career. According to Freidan, the main goals of young women included to marry and to settle down in the suburbs. She writes that the birthrate was soaring, and women had no interested in obtaining Jobs. This led to women having a feeling of emptiness and unhappiness inside them, and they could not put their fingers on what was causing these emotions. Women only held Jobs if they absolutely had to in order for the were willing to confront it.

Betty Freidan brought out the issues of how women fought for their rights to an education and a career throughout the 20th century and yet many women of the 50’s and early 60’s reverted back to the housewife role and mother. She stated that 47 percent of American women went to college in the 1920’s and by the 1950’s it was down to 35 percent. Freidan also pointed out that women of the 1950’s and 1960’s were concerned with beauty and femininity, dyeing their hair blond, looking as pretty as they could for their husbands but not at all concerned about an education.

Their goal in life was to find a man and make him marry them. They did not think that they would have needs or wants beyond pleasing a man, having a clean house, raising children, and looking beautiful. The widespread popularity of Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique gave women a chance to re- examine their own lives in light of the questions it raised. Freidan’s novel gave women who were raised with the belief that their natural role was that of the homemaker exposure to other possibilities for personal fulfillment.Feminists contended that no woman could find true personal satisfaction in the role of homemaker. Though many women were dissatisfied with this lifestyle, there were ome who were content as wives and mothers.

National Women’s Organization (NOW) It was founded in 1966 and acted as a civil-rights group dedicated to achieving equality of opportunity for women. It was founded by a group of people, including Betty Freidan, and Rev. Pauli Murray, the first African-American woman Episcopal priest. Betty Freidan became the organization’s first president.The goal of NOW was to bring about equality for all women. They campaigned to gain passage of the ERA amendment at the state level. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, and the Justice system; to secure abortion, irth control and reproductive rights for all women and end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia. As president during its first three years, she wrote NOW’s founding statement demanding full equality for women in the mainstream of American life.

She also led the organization in its decisions in 1967 to support the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, for women and legalized abortion. Initially Freidan and other feminists criticized women’s role as primary caretaker of the family because they believed that status and success could be achieved only through work outside the home. By the 1980s, she and others had come to believe that women and men desire both the prestige and fulfillment that come from work outside the home and the love and identity gained through marriage and children.In The Second Stage (1981) Freidan argued that feminism had become too woman-centered in the 1970s and had polarized the relationship between the sexes.

She urged feminists to move away from this stance and Join with men and even conservatives on these new family issues. Freidan stepped down from the presidency in March 1970 but continued to be active in the work that had sprung argely from her pioneering efforts, helping to organize the Women’s Strike for Equality, held on August 26, 1970, the 50th anniversary of woman suffrage, and leading in the campaign for ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Legal achievements Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and the Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1975 removed great inequalities in education.

It opened doors for women athletes, as did Billie Jean King’s 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis victory. Women’s sports began to organize and as Title IX was enforced, women athletes became common. Many of he elite men’s colleges and universities began to admit women, and women’s schools began to admit men.

The nation’s Military Academies were forced by Congress to admit women.Employment and economics Feminist activism led to enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 aimed to remove remaining inequalities in pay, hiring, and the workplace. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 made illegal discrimination in credit, a major problem for women seeking equality. In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act gave expecting mothers Job protection. The courts also lent their support in striking down sexist laws.

Alimony and divorce laws were equalized and state laws barring women from juries were overturned by the Supreme Court.Rape and violence Sexual assault and domestic violence became central targets of women’s activism. The crime of rape began to assume its contemporary form. Existing laws were extended to include marital rape usually, in practice, of wives by husbands, which was made illegal in every state), and sex when a person is too physically or mentally incapacitated to consent. Feminists, led by Gloria Steinem and her Women’s Action Alliance, worked to create domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers non- existent prior to the Women’s Movement.Reproduction Access to contraception and abortion continued to be major issues for women’s rights advocates. The contraceptive pill was approved by the FDA in 1960 for use by married women only.

The “age of majority” law was changed from age 21 to 18 in 1972. The first hormonal contraception method, the combined oral contraceptive pill, technologically revolutionized control over reproduction, while laws restricting access to birth control and abortion were rolled back by legislative action and Judicial ecisions such as Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception, 1965) and Roe v.

Wade (abortion, 1973). Following the Griswold ruling that allowed all married persons access to contraception, the Supreme Court ruled in the early 1970s that all unmarried persons were also allowed contraception, under the Constitution’s implied right to privacy Before these laws women-run reproductive health clinics and several clandestine abortion services provided women with immediate access. Women’s groups largely supported abortion rights, however there was a significant minority which spoke out in opposition. Feminists for Life was formed by pro-life women in 1972.

Alice Paul, leading suffragette, author of the Equal Rights Amendment, and feminist activist until her 1977 death was passionately pro-life, over which she clashed with many of the new feminists Legalization of Abortion Legalized abortion, another goal of the feminist movement, was realized by the 1973 Supreme Court Decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. The Justices were faced with the difficulty of deciding on the issue that was fervently debated by all sections of society. Essentially, the decision was based on a woman’s right to privacy in her ecision to terminate a pregnancy.Although the Supreme Court ruled that the right was and undeniable right. The decision left states in control of regulation of abortion.

Equal Rights Amendment In 1972 the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution passed Congress. It had been proposed by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party in the 1923 and reintroduced every Congress thereafter. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower became the first President to explicitly say that he favored the full equality of women and also endorsed the ERA.

It passed the Senate twice that decade, but in a modified version hich rendered it moot, and was unsupported by ERA advocates. The Feminine Mystique caught the attention of many women and got them to thinking about where they have been and where they were headed. One thing was clear, women wanted to be somebody, not Just somebody’s wife or somebody’s mother. Women were attending consciousness raising sessions and beginning to question old world values while trying to forge new world values of their own.By the end of the 1960s, the women’s movement had succeeded in challenging nearly all of America’s traditional cultural assumptions about women’s proper place, and had ecome one of the media’s biggest news items. By the early 1980s, it was largely perceived that women had met their goals and succeeded in changing social attitudes towards gender roles, repealing oppressive laws that were based on sex, integrating the boys’ clubs such as Military academies, the United States armed forces, NASA, single-sex colleges, men’s clubs, and the Supreme Court, and illegalizing gender discrimination.Today women have so many rights that others, like Betty Freidan fought to achieve. It is because of her, and others like her that women today have careers, and families, they vote and run for office, they live and even age n a society that allows much greater opportunities for success, happiness, and fulfillment, their mothers and grandmothers experienced.

What is Feminism? As an ideology, it can be described as that that opposes the political, economic, and cultural relegation of women to positions of inferiority and basically affirms women’s equality with men, and rejects patriarchy7. What is Feminist Jurisprudence?Feminist Jurisprudence is a burgeoning school of legal thought that encompasses many theories and approaches to law and legal issues. Each strain of feminist jurisprudence evaluates and critiques the law by examining the relationship between ender, sexuality, power, individual rights, and the Judicial system as a whole. As a field of legal scholarship and theory, feminist Jurisprudence had its beginnings in the 1960s. By the 1990s it had become an important and vital part of the law, informing many debates on sexual and Domestic Violence, inequality in the workplace, and gender-based discrimination at all levels of U. S. society.

Historical Introduction on Constitutional “Equality’ in Feminist Jurisprudence Unlike the partial and liberal measures that were present such as equal pay legislation, eminist Jurisprudence does not pacify women’s oppression but promised a general theory of law that had practical application at the time the idea began to develop. This is because8, it appeared to offer the combination of theory and practise and because it was grounded in women’s experience; the ideal feminist Jurisprudence United States of America After Suffrage, Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party supported the first equal rights amendment for women.This version was first introduced to Congress in1923: “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the USA and in every place subject to its Jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation… ” From this, it was argued that the amendment would eliminate the many distinctions between women and men in laws regulating employment, families, citizenship and criminal sentences10.

Some of the issues that were trying to be dealt with, that faced the females were; State laws at the time (The 1920’s) specified maximum hours or minimum wages for women workers.Family Law was almost entirely sex-specific. An example was a strong presumption that mothers would have to serve as sole custodians of children after a divorce. In many states, married women were still denied full rights to contract and own property despite the passage of the Married Property Actsl 1 . From this, a group called the ERA was established to help solve these concerns. ERA supporters wanted to eradicate these and other discriminatory laws.However, the ERA was not supported by a vast majority of women’s right activists the 1920’s and for decades to come because they worried about the consequences of eliminating sex- specific family laws as well as laws “protecting” women workers because of their special needs and responsibilities. Despite this, the ERA was supported by economic conservatives that were opposed to all government regulations of employment.

The PCSW Compromise In 1962, President Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) with Eleanor Roosevelt as its chair and had most of its members being ERA opponents.This was a stage of which many women had become involved in the struggle for racial and economic Justice. From this body, Pauli Murrayl 2suggested the compromise that women should seek equality through the courts under the Fourteenth Amendment (as civil rights activists had done in seeking quality for blacks). Under an approach like that, the courts would uphold sex- specific legislation that was good for women and strike out sex-specific legislation that was bad for women. This compromise helped break the hold-up over the ERA and also brought together women from all over the country.

Title VII and Support for a New Era In 1964, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which banned race discrimination in many settings including education13. Title VII of the same Act eliminated a major barrier to ERA by having gender as one of the prohibiting bases or adverse employment actions (combined with race, colour, religion and national origin)14. Differences among Activists Both approaches of fghting for the ERA and seeking gender equality under the They both sought to maximize women’s choices by giving women rights to be treated like other people irrespective of gender.Liberal feminists focused their efforts on social change through the construction of legislation and regulation of employment practices and stressed on the similarities (and not the differences) between individual men and women. Marxist Feminists expressed that division of labour was related to gender role xpectations where the male was bourgeoisie and the female was proletariat. An example of such a case is in that females’ main purpose was to give birth and the male’s sole purpose was to support the family.Radical Feminists spoke out against all social structures because they are created by men who were believed to control the norms of acceptable sexual behaviour and used sexism as a main tool to keep women oppressed.

Social Feminists believed that women’s inferior position was the result of class-based capitalism as they viewed women’s oppression as stemming from their work in the amily and the economy and believed that history could be made in the private sphere (home) not Just the public sphere (work). Many Radical Feminists were lesbians for the purposes of being both an identifiable intellectual approach and political strategy.Dominance of Liberal Feminism Liberal Feminism came to dominate understandings of sexual equality in law and throughout society. This was because of the media’s representation of radical and socialist feminist as absurd. Liberalism became a dominant fgure in feminism because of its use of widely accepted cultural norms such as individualism. Feminists however had a chance to move away from liberal feminism when the ERA was re-introduced into the Congressl 5 and feminists arranged for congressional hearings that emphasized the limits of the liberal approach to gender equality embraced by the Supreme Court16.In Africa There was, and probably still is, a big difference between African and Western women activism. As the women in the west tried to harvest the fruits of capitalism and global economy in their fight for gender equality, African women fought against, and were also confronted with, poverty, terrible labour conditions, faulty education nd health care.

African women’s movement was strongly influenced and shaped by the activism against colonial rule and racist ideologies17.African Feminists have, to a lesser extent, aimed their work of feminism at personal and sexist conditions which was contrary to Western Feminists. The Development of a Constitutional Standard for the constitutionality of gender classifications is a variation on the standard used in racial cases. Liberal Feminists generally accepted this standard until the end of the 1970’s after which they began to question the nature of the standard articulated by the Supreme Court.

) The First Case The case of Reed v.Reed18 had the mother in the case being represented by the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU19 appealing on the decision made by and Idaho court that had the father left as administrator over their late son’s estate on the basis that the strict scrutiny standard developed for racial classifications should also apply to classifications based in gender. The court eventually did not apply strict scrutiny, provided no explanation about the heightened level of scrutiny it employed between the two parents and named the parents as Joint administrators of the estate of their deceased son. t) Four Votes For Strict Scrutiny In the case of Fronterio v.

Richardson20, was the case of a married female officer of in the Air Force (The plaintifO arguing that she was denied equal protection by laws automatically giving spousal benefits to married men but denying them to married women. The WRP argued that strict scrutiny standard developed for racial classifications should apply to classifications based on sex and Four Justices agreed but a majority of the court could not agree on the standard to be applied. Eventually, four Justices agreed that the Air Force policy at issue was unconstitutional but pplied the Reed Standard rather than adopting strict scrutiny in the light of the then-pending ERA.

ii) Pregnancy Discrimination This is majorly brought out in the case of Geduldig v. Aie11021 where the opinion of the court was that they did not agree that the exclusion of pregnancy from coverage [Under California’s Disability Insurance Program] amounts to invidious discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause. It can be argued that California’s genuine interest in fiscal interest could have easily been achieved through a variety of less drastic, sexually neutral means as was observed in one of their district courts.It can also be held that22 the California plan at issue was overt discrimination on the basis of sex. ‘v) Settling On an Intermediate Standard The case of Craig v. Boren23 was widely understood as establishing an intermediate standard of review for legislation classifying by sex: Sex Based Classifications must “serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to the achievement of these objectives”24.

Therefore, the standard in cases involving sex discrimination was proved to be a weakened version of the strict scrutiny standard applied to racial classifications.


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