“Freedom is not just a human right as underscored in the 13th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but it is also imperative for economic development” (Li 34). The passage of time from the mid-20th century has seen the enactment of grand changes in the emancipation of women with regards to their freedoms of movement, speech, etc. as well as protection from sexual harassment in public zones amongst other things. These changes were a culmination of the women’s empowerment movements that had begun a century earlier. Today, women are a decisive force in the political scene. Driven by their risen ranks in the work environment, stimulus in women’s capital, and networks established to bolster their influence and gather their donations; they are bankrolling political movements more than ever. “It is estimated that 43% of all the donations to the federal candidates in this election year has come from women. Additionally, women have also sufficed one-fifth of all personal contributions to super PACs (Political Action Committees) for this year’s election, which represents a 2000% rise since 2010, the year in which new levels of providing to outside groups was made possible” (Stoelzler 221).
The national women’s day, which is held every 9th of August, is a commemoration of the women’s march in Pretoria, South Africa, where 20,000 women marched for the plight of black women under the apartheid rule. Today, gender parity has been realized in almost every part of the world (Li 34). In essence, women’s role in politics has increased significantly since the end of the Second World War when they were yet subser...
vient to the men; today, they have attained an equal profile, consequently becoming movers and shakers along with men in the present-day political, economic, and social dynamics.
The end of World War II inspired most Americans with relief and joy. The announcement of peace brought an end to the long work hour, agonizing tensions, separations, and shortages. “The urgency to resume normalcy seized the majority like a fever. New marriages and babies were at a boom. Many women experienced mixed blessings in the subsequent years” (Dragiewicz & Mann 2). The move to transfer more female workers into the clothing and textile industries, which began before the war, went on. Most of the women who initially were ironworkers and metal workers in munitions and aircraft factories lost their pay and jobs and reverted to restaurant jobs at rather lower levels of pay than the men. They received 75% of the male rate. The majority of the comprehensive child care centers that bloomed during the war vanished along with the government’s funding for the projects. Several women found themselves “either widowed on insufficient pensions or with critically war-shocked men, with very little community support or understanding of their predicaments” (Dragiewicz & Mann 2).
The full implication of the mushroom clouds above Nagasaki and Hiroshima began to dawn. The first atomic generation was confronted with life’s fragility on a grand scale and consequently revolted against traditional norms. Parents were bewildered, and the pressure on the women mounted. There were heated debates amongst experts as to “whether the working mothers wer
responsible for the social hitches” (Dragiewicz & Mann 2). The housing shortages brought about the suburban dream, and with a rapidly broadening consumerism, many women discovered they “were imprisoned in their new homes and confined to the growth industry of drug therapy and valium for suburban neurosis” (Dragiewicz & Mann 4).
The peace that ensued at the end of WWII brought about the Cold War, and new areas of interest were struck in the Pacific region, China, and Eastern Europe. The technologies that the new war triggered accelerated both contradictions and growth, including privileged and underprivileged, development and underdevelopment, the possibility of total annihilation, and space adventure. The course of the 1950s saw the practice of all manner of politics against a backdrop of declining democratic practice and extreme bigotry. Not only were efforts put in to ban the communist party but there were also attempts to “empower the government to decide arbitrarily who was not or was a communist” (Stoelzler 250). Anticommunism was employed to suffocate political dissent or tarnish the image of opponents. One outcome of this suppression was a rise in left and radical groups and longstanding political tensions that disrupted the established collaboration between women’s group for the entire course of the Cold War. In one case in a factory in Sydney, Australia, women from more advantageous background clashed with working class women when they resumed work to aid the war effort rather than uniting with the others to “push for a pay rise” (Stoelzler 252). Communist women were frequently barred from participating in any feminist movements.
The 1960s saw the rise of the women’s liberation movement, which lasted until the early part of the 80s. During this time, several organizations were formed including the National Organization for Women (NOW), which “worked to transform the society’s institutional structures so that women could attain social, political, and economic equality” (Stoelzler 288). Critical changes occurred during this period, for instance, women were encouraged to advance their careers, and there was the passing of the “1963 Equal Pay Act that made it possible for women to work for the same wage rates as men” (261). Additionally, the passing of the “Civil Rights Act in 1964 helped bring about equal employment opportunities for both men and women and create an impetus for federal funding for higher education for female students” (261). “The right to privacy to all citizens was established in 1965. In 1973, all existing state and federal bans on abortion were declared unconstitutional and ultimately, in 1982, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment bill amid upheavals” (Stoelzler 261). Consequently, the first female Supreme Court Justice, first female astronaut, and first female to be incorporated in a major ticket for US presidency featured in the 80s. A record number of women in the US were won elective positions in the 1992 elections, indicating that the women’s right campaign was getting into “its third phase” (Stoelzler 269).
To sum it all, though many milestones have been realized, many more women have not yet earned complete freedom as most people idealize. Though women have come from afar, there is still a cultural barrier to