Women’s issues have been, to an extent, independent from the broader socio-history changes witnessed in twentieth century America. The foremost issue that had not found suitable resolution since the 1920s is the wage disparity between men and women in America. While at the beginning of the century the percentage of women who participated in mainstream economy was negligible, this situation changed with the two world wars. As men were waging battle in the war front, women undertook jobs that were erstwhile only done by men. Emboldened and encouraged by their success, the social norms concerning the role of women had undergone a radical change. Yet, business enterprises did not easily accept the notion that women deserve equal remuneration as that of their male colleagues. While the magnitude of the disparity had eased up during the subsequent decades of the century, the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.
The disparity is . . . Read More
Educating Rita, both in its version of a motion picture as well as a play, is a comedy contrived from class based differences of the lead protagonists. Rita, played by Julie Walters is a twenty six year old hairdresser, ailing from working classLiverpool. To the role of her tutor, played by Michael Caine, are associated middle-class markers of education, job security and social status. Having emerged from different socio-economic backgrounds, the meeting of the tutor and the pupil induces refreshing changes in both their lives. For instance, Rita aspires to overcome the attendant disadvantages of her working class background through her enrolment in the Open University. The education she would receive there, she believes, would liberate and enlighten her; by way of which she hopes to move away from the social strata of her birth. Professor Frank Bryant, on the other hand, is a middle-aged alcoholic, who has no interest what so ever in his professorship. Instead he . . . Read More
Gloria Steinem is one of the most well known and respected leader of the feminist movement in America. Her writings and speeches have impacted the way women’s issues are perceived and understood in the last half a century or so. Alongside Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, Steinem has carved a unique place for herself in the pantheon of feminist leaders.
Born on 25th March, 1934 in mid-western state of Ohio, Steinem had a difficult childhood. Her father was an antique dealer and as a result traveled frequently, while her mother worked for a publisher. Her grandmother Pauline Steinem was a revered suffragette in her day. But in the early years of Gloria’s life, there was little evidence to suggest that she would uphold her grandmother’s legacy. Since her father had to relocate to new cities very frequently, the young Gloria Steinem could not be enrolled in a regular school. All her early education was provided by her mom at home. This delicate family . . . Read More
President Barack Obama recently struck down the Bush Administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information-the so-called “gag rule”. President Obama’s ruling has elicited both joy and consternation within US. Do those very different reactions indicate something about where people stand on issues of moral relativism? If so, explain; if not, explain why not?
One of the first acts of the new President Barack Obama’s is the overturn of the ‘gag rule’ which bans federal funding of international organizations that support abortion and family planning. This overturn is as much motivated by political reasons as it is by moral standards espoused by the new administration. For example, ever since its initial imposition under the leadership of Ronald Reagan the ‘gag . . . Read More
Homosexuality, for major part of human history has been considered a taboo; the origins of its condemnation can be traced back to primitive religious beliefs and ancient superstitions. As societies become more advanced and modern, with attendant increase in awareness of the subject, a greater degree of tolerance and understanding of homosexuality is seen these days. Moreover, the issues of gays and lesbians are increasingly being discussed in . . . Read More
The issue of lesbian rights is the focus of this essay. By looking at the evolution of the lesbian rights movement from a historical perspective and by concentrating on the activists and their tactics, it is hoped that a thorough understanding of the subject would be attained. The essay attempts to deal with the history of lesbian rights movement in the United States of America and its implication for the rest of the world.
The beginnings of the fight for recognition of gays and lesbians as legitimate relationships began in the early decades of the . . . Read More
One way of looking at the significant historical events in North America and Europe over the last few centuries is by studying and understanding the first wave feminist movement and the abolitionist movement. Such a study will lead to the inference that the two social movements had much in common and each took strength from the success of the other. The former, of course, would be denoted by social scientists as first wave and second wave feminist movements and the latter is more commonly . . . Read More
Any discussion of the first wave feminist movement is incomplete without reference to the impact of Utopian Socialism on the former. Considering that the feminist movements in general have sprung from the need for “equality” in the interpersonal and social affairs of men and women, it is no surprise that an economic system such as socialism was closely associated with it. After all, socialism espouses economic equality among the individual citizens, to go along with equal political . . . Read More
The first wave movement in America and Britain was a direct result of the existing interconnections between the physiological rights and political rights of women in the nineteenth century. This meant that the feminists strove to bring about just laws for protecting women’s rights. They attempted to purify the society of immoral practices such as rape, incest, physical and emotional abuse. Social purity, in hence one part of the larger first wave feminist movement that specifically addresses . . . Read More
An interesting perspective on the history of North America and Europe over the last few centuries is attained by relating the women’s movement and the anti-slavery movement. The former, of course, would be denoted by historians as first wave and second wave feminist movements and the latter is termed the abolitionist movement. This connection makes sense considering the fact that the goals of these two movements are essentially the same. While the feminists fought to be liberated from the . . . Read More