From the earliest records of history to the world today, the role and rights of women remain ever changing. From becoming high priestesses and worshipped as high deities, to facing restrictions of what to wear and transformed to facing subjection, especially by maintaining domestic spheres in the household, women have always adapted to the inconsistent expectations that society has imposed. Because various daring women have gone without fear to change the standard way of life, future generations can now tackle the hardships that the world sets in motion.
“Honestly, my life would stand incomparable to today without the work of the women before me,” junior Audrey Baldson said. “Since I want to enter law and politics as an adult, I would have none of these opportunities if such advancements just up and disappeared. Today, a majority of law students exist as women, but without a tradition of excellence and trail blazing, [this possibility would cease.]”
Revisiting 1870, long before the 19th amendment for women to vote passed, Ada Kepley, a student at Northwestern University, graduated and earned her degree in law making her the first woman in U.S. history to ever do so. As time progressed and the world approached the year of 1919, the Sex Disqualification Act, passed by the British Parliament, prevented women from facing rejection because of their gender. Finally, in 1922, women throughout the U.S. finally became able to legally attend law school, which made Ada Kepley an inspiration for generations to come.
“I think women’s right to vote became such an important accomplishment because it gave us a voice that we never had before,” junior Greer Gilbraith said.
For the first time in history, as the world became accustomed to the 20th century, the 19th amendment passed which finally allowed women to vote regardless of their sex. The stereotype of a “true” woman, which engendered a woman only concerned with the home and family faced opposition, however, failed to end with the amendment. Furthermore, the right to vote, not even a top priority of the Women’s Equality Movement to begin with, proved refinement as essential, especially since at the time, states could still discriminate against women who tried to vote.
“[The Women’s Rights Movement] still has to create standards and goals for women that remain not as comparisons to men,” Gilbraith said. “I feel as if we try to chase and replicate what men have but why not just make it our own thing?”
While the current movement makes headway for profuse accomplishments, with such issues involving the abuse of transgender women, basic misgendering, and even the infamous wage gap, the movement still requires a great deal of progression. Countries like Brazil and Mexico lead the world in transphobic violence and abuse cases, most of which go unnoticed. Last December, in Playas Del Coco, Tati Quiros, shot multiple times, failed to hold recognition as a woman in media coverage. The extent of these deaths have progressed so substantially that even cisgender women in Latin America become targeted like prey for their femininity.
“No matter the advancements women make in society, we have long given into oppression throughout history,” Baldson said. “If one day the ultimate triumph over the patriarchy comes, we should still celebrate the centuries of women who brought us to that point. It [subsists] as a recognition of our history and a celebration of how far we have come.”
Because of the degrading belief that women come off as too emotional or lack cognizance to hold certain jobs, especially held by former president Howard Taft or rapper T.I. who stated that a Loch Ness monster would become more fit for a presidential career, women’s work, left as unrecognized, became swindled and looked down on by men. From the discovery of the DNA double helix by Rosalind Franklin, purloined by Watson and Crick, to the original game of Monopoly invented by Elizabeth Maggie known as “The Landlord’s Game” that never received credit, women continue to face doubt as their overall perception by the world remains perpetuated by vacillation.
“Existing as a woman happens as something I do not consciously recognize day to day- I simply exist as me,” Baldson said. “The terms of a woman [turn to definition] only when I recognize the surrounding patriarchy that narrows my sense of self and opportunity. In that case, living as a woman prepares us to deal with the nicks and scratches you take on trying to become yourself in this patriarchal world.”
By Sophia Portillo, staff writer
Featured photo by Kayla Cox