Women of the Past
Women in the past were always seen as the weaker species but throughout time there grasp of the world has gradually increased. Once only seen as a week minority women slowly but surely started pushing forward. Women before the progressive era were no where near any source of freedom or equality as the common man was, however reformation of political policies, and new social conditions caused a dramatic change in the American Women’s way of life, therefore causing massive amount of reformation during the Progressive Era leading too much of the freedoms enjoyed by women today.
Even though women were originally denied the right to vote for most of the period they worked with what they had and searched for new ways of making a difference and having a voice. One of the most influential political and social ways that they accomplished this feat was through unions such as the Nationals Women’s party of 1917, with even African American women themselves trying to make a difference through unions like the National Association of Colored Women.
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Through these unions and party’s women were able to take the fight to the main political machines and become advocates for the reformation of not only woman’s suffrage but also fight against child labor, push for health programs such as some set up by the National Birth Control League, and even for the regulation of labor for woman in the work force. Not only were these women able to just have a voice but there determination actually gave through to reforms such as the Children’s Bureau of 1912 and the Women’s Bureau of 1920 in the federal Department of Labor.
They won minimum wage and maximum hours laws for women workers, public health programs for pregnant women and babies, improved educational opportunities for both children and adults, and an array of social welfare measures at the local, state, and federal levels. Women’s activism created a more secure and responsive relationship between citizens and their government and laid part of the foundation for the welfare state that would take definitive shape during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency in the 1930s.
Through the reformations for the Progressive Era social conditions also began to improve, and with it the spirit of the American Women. As the idea of social Darwinism began to diminish new possibilities were opening up for the once not so fortunate especially for women. As not only women but civil rights leaders such as Jane Addams, and Susan B. Anthony began to immerge in the political picture the original thought of the stay at home women was changed and instead viewed as people that could make a difference.
As muckrakers and other sources began to expose the shortcomings of some political leaders public opinion of these new women leaders began to change as well and were seen as a welcoming sign that would cause many of the major reforms that society desperately needed at that time. As these powerful women pushed forward and powers such as the Women’s Bureau of 1920 and the Social Gospel Movement went spiraling into American Society women were able to jump leaps and bounds spreading there influence into all corners of American society and eventually lead to the 19th amendment securing not there only , but one of there many important goals.