It’s time wake up and take action

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It’s time wake up and take action

Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

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As the saying goes, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

The phrase was coined in the ‘70s by historian and Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who wrote a book with the same title. Although I haven’t read the book, I took some time to think about what this means to me and how this phrase can be interpreted.

When you look back at women who have made a big impact and contribution to society such as Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, Katharine Graham, Oprah Winfrey and so on, you will notice that these women made a difference in history because they did not stay quiet.

Each woman had a different motive, but at the end of the day their determination was the same. These women chose to speak up whether it was in their writing or by using their voices or taking an action.

With movements such as #MeToo, Time’s Up and the Women’s Marches, the wave of women continues to gain strength. And the truth is, that these movements are not new, they’ve been around for well over a century. 

In 1848, a group of mostly women and some men, came together to discuss the problem of women’s rights and the lack of those rights. The two women who were the primary organizers of the first convention known as the Seneca Falls Convention, were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Over the next few years, with rising awareness amongst supporters like Susan B. Anthony, this would go on to become the first Women’s Rights Movement.

After decades of women’s rights activists fighting for an equal political voice, women were finally given the right to vote. But, the crusade didn’t stop there.

During the same era, a writer by the name of Margaret Fuller had already published “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” which is considered to be the first major feminist’s work in the United States. She was also an activist for women’s rights, particularly for education and the right to employment. Fuller was well ahead of her time as she challenged the traditional role women take in households.

She believed that both men and women needed to be their own individuals and be self-reliant. She called for men to eliminate their dominance over women and for women to remove themselves from a man’s influence in order to become independent. Fuller also stressed that women needed to teach other women how to become individuals. Much of her work inspired the leaders of the first Women’s Rights Movement, including women’s suffrage.

If you can’t tell, there is a pattern here. Although these weren’t the first women to speak up about what they demanded for themselves and others, each woman who spoke up and took some type of action was inspired by another woman who also did the same.

With countless powerful female leaders along with way who paved the way for more significant female figures, this wave of women only grows with any injustice that is encountered. It is important to understand that these continuous movements led by women, have never been solely for women, but for those who society continues to suppress time after time.

Think about the current climate and the ongoing social justice movements the world is experiencing now. Reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s when other movements were prominent, only with slightly more progress. 

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on all the women who have had an impact on society since the beginning of time. Each era in history had its own powerful women breaking the mold, not going along with what society says women should do or how women should act.

It was because women decided not to “behave” in the way patriarchal society expects them to that women made a difference, even in the slightest way.

Just like Margaret Fuller said, women need to help other women. Women need to empower other women. It sets a standard for others to follow suit and demands respect from those who don’t.

Although many strides have been made in women’s history, there is still a long way to go.

For the women who are reading this and the men who support and respect them, let’s continue to break the negative stereotypes and challenge the rules because we’re not going anywhere but up.

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