Capitalism caused the start of women's rights. It is a very blunt statement, I agree, but in my personal view, I feel that when men discovered that women had a commercial value apart from a reproductive value, they decided that this was the time to free them from their weaker status in society. This is no different to the way that slavery was banned on the cotton plantations when, white middle America realised that these people could still be kept in their position, as the underdogs of society whilst granting them wishes without giving them anymore than basic human rights.
The liberation of women did not come with the vote, rather it came when abortion was made legal and contraception was made widespread throughout the Western world, but this again stands to benefit men. Women are not meant to have sexuality. Female libido must be oppressed as it is a terrifying force in the face of the patriachy.
Women's oppression, Engels argues, has not always existed but developed in conjunction with the rise of private property, the division of society into classes and the development of the family as an economic and social institution.
These ideas had revolutionary implications - if the institutions and social arrangements of capitalism have not always existed then they can be changed. This potentially threatens the stability and existence of capitalism itself.
It was particularly explosive to question the universal nature of the family in the late 19th century. The family was essential for consolidating and extending the capitalist class' wealth. It also played an important role in bringing up and socialising the next generation of workers, instilling discipline and deference to hierarchy - all necessary for the stability and functioning of the capitalist profit system.
Women's role in the family also underpinned women's subordinate position in the workplace and in society generally.
taken from: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Friedrich Engels
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How can this idea have been written over a hundred years ago and still be as relevant today?
There is no such thing as women's rights. Again, a pretty controversial view to be writing on a page that is dedicated to understanding women's liberation. The question is though how can we deem ourselves equal to men in a society where a supposedly civilised country such as America feels it has the right to declare a "Sanctity of Life Day".
Bush Declares Sunday National Sanctity of Human Life Day, Pledges to 'Build Culture That Respects Life'
(Jan 15, 2003)
President Bush yesterday issued a proclamation declaring Sunday, Jan. 19, to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, the Associated Press reports. The proclamation announces no change in policy or program but highlights the Bush administration's efforts to support "compassionate alternatives" to abortion, including its encouragement of adoption, abstinence education, laws requiring waiting periods before abortion procedures and laws requiring parental notification for minors wishing to get an abortion.
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What about the men?Do they have no part in the fertilisation of the pregnancy in the first place? All sanctity of life days are structured towards the female market; their poisonous opinions prey upon the most vunerable people. Pregnant women, who think that abortion is their best option, are in a terrifying position and having more pressure placed upon them by governmental "days" is disqualifying any theory that women are equal to men in society. Has the US government forgotten that it is the woman's body, therefore, it is her total choice what she does with it?
Apologies to those who feel differently on this subject. I am merely professing my opinion and it is not meant to be taken as a castigation of those with differing concepts due to their religion or culture.
Therefore, we can conclude from this that, a woman's body belongs to her government rather than herself and if this really is the case, how can women's rights exist if they are only being made in accordance to patriachal society,i.e. for the needs of men?
January 12, 2003, The New York Times
The War Against Women
As the 30th anniversary of the Roe decision approaches, women's right to safe, legal abortions is in dire peril.
President Bush's assault on reproductive rights is part of a larger ongoing cultural battle. If abortion were the only target, the administration would not be attempting to block women's access to contraceptives, which drive down the number of abortions. His administration would not be declaring war on any sex education that discusses ways, beyond abstinence, to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Scientifically accurate information about contraceptives and abortion would not have begun disappearing from federal government Web sites.
A big thrust of Mr. Bush's aggressive anti-choice crusade has been to undermine the legal foundation of the Roe decision by elevating the status of a fetus, or even a fertilized egg, to that of a person, with rights equal to, or perhaps even exceeding, those of the woman. This desire to recognize the personhood of zygotes is part of the rationale behind the Bush policy prohibiting federal financing for research on all new embryonic stem-cell lines, despite the hopes that this research could lead to breakthroughs in treatments for diseases like Parkinson's, cancer and diabetes. Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, was following the same drumbeat when he made "unborn children" rather than pregnant women eligible for coverage under the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Mr. Bush has begun packing the judiciary with individuals whose hostility to Roe v. Wade matches his own and that of his famously anti-choice attorney general, John Ashcroft. In Congress, he backs a radical measure called the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, which would further reduce the already thin availability of abortion services. It would allow government-supported health care providers to decline to include abortion in their reproductive health services. The providers could even forbid their doctors from mentioning abortion as a legal option to female patients.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Bush is also a strong supporter of the other pending anti-choice initiatives, including the ban on so-called partial-birth abortions. Like so much of the president's policy on this issue, the ban masquerades as a modest initiative that has wide popular support - eliminating already rare late-term abortions - while its actual effects are far more sweeping. This effort to criminalize certain abortion procedures would actually restrict a woman's right to choose abortion by the safest method throughout pregnancy. So concluded the current Supreme Court, hardly a bastion of liberal abortion rights sympathizers, when it rejected an earlier version nearly three years ago.
The effects of the new anti-choice agenda are also affecting women abroad. On his very first day on the job, the president reimposed the odious global "gag" rule first instituted by President Ronald Reagan, then lifted by President Bill Clinton in January 1993. It bars health providers receiving American family planning assistance from counseling women about abortion, engaging in political speech on abortion or providing abortion services, even with their own money.
In resurrecting the gag rule, the new president broadcast a disdain for freedom of speech to emerging democracies, while crippling the international family planning programs that work to prevent hundreds of thousands of infant and maternal deaths worldwide each year.
Most Americans would be shocked at the lengths American representatives are going to in their international war against women's right to control their bodies.
Last year, Bush administration delegates to the United Nations Special Session on Children tried to block a plan to promote children's well-being and rights, taking offense at language promising "reproductive health services." This same crackerjack delegation also opposed special efforts to help young girls who are victims of war crimes - which most often means rape. The delegates were worried that the measure would be construed to provide these victims with information about emergency contraception or abortion.
The administration's anti-choice obsession has also prompted it to freeze millions of dollars in financing for valuable programs run by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund to advance reproductive health and combat H.I.V. and AIDS.
Last summer, the president withdrew his support for Senate ratification of a women's rights treaty that requires nations to remove barriers of discrimination against women in areas like legal rights and health care. Just last month, at a United Nations' population conference in Bangkok, the American delegation made an embarrassing, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to block an endorsement of condom use to prevent AIDS.
On the surface, the Bush administration's war against women's rights is a series of largely unnoted changes. It is intended to look that way. In reality, it is a steady march into the past, to a time before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal and pregnancy was more a matter of fate than choice.
People can debate whether Mr. Bush's various efforts to dismantle Roe and block women's right to choose around the globe flow from his own deeply felt moral or religious beliefs, or merely cater to extreme elements within his party. What is important is the actual impact of the presidential assault: women's constitutional liberty has been threatened, essential reproductive health care has been denied or delayed, and some women will needlessly die.
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Through the commercial gain to society of men allowing women to work this has elevated the standard of living for women. Therefore this could be seen as the reason why women have taken interest in their political status in regards to their rights in the work place and in society as an "equal" being. This is what can only be denoted as women's rights as a woman can only understand how she is being discriminated against. However, the disadvantage will always be that her rights can only be made into laws by a majoritively male government and if they the patriarchy feels that it is not in their best interest (i.e. falling birth rates, higher chances of a handicapped nation due to older women giving birth) to pass these laws then equality can never be found.
Is there really a solution to this inequality in the world? Not really, unless there is a mass revolution staged by all of the minorities against the patriachy but how is this to be achieved by a subsection of society who have never truly created a complete group unlike the African Americans or the Jewish. Women are a minority within minorities.The likelihood of a rush of women to join their government is also extremely unlikely, due to its anti-female environment. Politics is too high flying for a woman to be able to take a break in her career to provide the country with the children it so desperately wants. They, usually, stay in subordinate positions, such as in local council, that never can truly change the way in which a country is run. If they manage to make it to the top questions are constantly asked about her private life i.e. if she has children what are the effects going to be upon the adult they will become in a later life because she has concentrated on her career?If she has not had children, she will be labelled selfish, sometimes even by women, who manage to work against their own cause.
In conclusion, how can women's rights truly exist if they are doctored to men's wishes and how can we come up with a strategy to change this without causing mass destruction of the world?