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A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: Women's Civil Rights

This guide focuses on the civil rights that various groups have fought for within the United States.

Introduction to Women's Civil Rights

Women have gained the right to vote and decisions like Roe v. Wade allowed them to make their own reproductive decisions. However, since that decision almost 44 years ago, women's rights to decide for themselves when it comes to reproductive matters have been chipped away over time. With the reproductive rights established by Roe v. Wade and its ilk under increased scrutiny, and funding for Planned Parenthood threatened, women's rights are at a juncture.

In this critical era, women's rights activists must be inclusive of all women, regardless of race, gender identity, or sexuality.  Women of color cannot be expected to bend to a white version of feminism. This holds true for accepting transgendered and lesbian or bisexual activists as well. Women's rights activists need to work to see each other's viewpoints, allowing for the introduction of new perspectives to gain an understanding of what each woman can bring to the table.

While women have made strides in the workplace, the wage gap still exists.  There are also areas that women have yet to conquer. While 26 percent of the U.S. Senators and 23.2 percent of the House of Representatives are currently female (2020), women make up approximately half of the nation.  As we await the first female President of the United States, working towards equal representation in all levels of the government is essential.

In recent years the common practice of convicted sexual assailants being given  lenient sentences are flooding social media. It would be easy to feel as though women, and all victims of sexual violence, are being devalued or even actively fought against. With unity and courage, women can overcome the hurdles they face today. 


Selected Library Resources:

  • I Dissent: The Life and Legacy of the Incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg available on HeinOnline