While being born in the modern times, no woman knows what it was like to have a status less than a man's. It is hard to envision what struggles many women had to go through in order to get the rights to be considered equal. In the essay The Meanings of Seneca Falls, 1848-1998, Gerda Lerner recalls the events surrounding the great women's movement. Among the several women that stand out in the movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton stands out because of her accomplishments. Upon being denied seating and voting rights at the World Antislavery Convention of 1840, she was outraged and humiliated, and wanted change.
Because of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's great perseverance, the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was a success as well as a great influence on the future of women's rights. The convention had several attendees with notable assiduousness to the cause. The founders were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, a highly acclaimed speaker and abolitionist. She was even founder of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and its long-term president! Martha Wright, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann McClintock were all women who worked in anti-slavery fairs that also wanted women's rights (203). Among other attendees, Frederick Douglass was also present! With the notable group assembled, a road to change was starting to form. The women had very limited rights compared to men of the time.
Women had no voice when it came to the law, they were deprived rights of citizenship, and deprived of their property and wages. They were also discriminated when the matters had to do with payment for work and divorce and were declared civilly dead up on marriage (204)! Finally, women were kept out of professions, and were to be kept as a dependent of the man. Half the population had their rights withheld because of the role that they were born into. The Seneca Falls Convention sought out to have these rights changed so that women could have the freedom that they deserved.
The outcome of the meeting had a great effect. The movement started at Seneca Falls requested the concepts by demanding legal, property, civil rights, and changes in gender-role definition and the woman's rights to her own body (205). At the time, it was known that "all men are created equal." When the definition is taken literally, the rights of women are demeaned. However, the women believed that as citizens and members of society, they had the rights to be treated equal as any other man. The women also did not want the assumed roles as assigned by them because of their sex. Because they were born women, they were given a burden to raise the children and do the housework.
Today, women have many professions that seemed unimaginable at the time. There are now women's athletes, politicians, teachers, doctors, female police, fire officers, and military personnel, all of which are accepted without question. These professions would not even be considered in the times of Elizabeth Stanton. Also, women are allowed to dress as they want, have equal guardianship of the children, file for divorce, drive, and even get tattoos. Because of the battle that these men and women endured, we can now have freedom that we cherish so much.
Because of the women who craved equal rights as men, the future of women's rights were forever changed for the better. With several notable men and women striving for equal rights, the task had finally showed success. Before the Seneca Falls Convention, men dominated women. However, after the meeting was done, the future of women was forever changed. New job opportunities, social issues, and fashion statements soon followed. Women's rights were changed that day at Seneca Falls, and the men and women who contributed should be remembered as heroes of the past.
Works Cited Lerner, Gerda. "The Meanings of Seneca Falls, 1848-1998." Women's America: Refocusing the Past. Ed. Linda K. Kerner. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.