The Role of Women in the United States of America in the 20th Century

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Sociology ・APA ・2 Sources

The time before they knew they could turn the situation around, women in the United States had no rights. Women were not permitted to take part in certain events such as voting in the time before the 20th century (Marino, 2012). Over the time, there have been several improvements. The purpose is therefore not only to examine events, but also to explain what effort they sacrificed, especially politically, for the change, because over the course of the century the political environment has changed. The twentieth-century was the time when American women laid the foundation for changes across different fields essential for life, including the academic, political, social, and cultural segments. They had to strategize ways that could benefit them in the coming decades. It included expansion of their education and further moved into wider categories of reform efforts and other professions, as women fought for the need to enrolling in lucrative courses like medicine, law, and engineering, which were exclusively meant for the male gender then (Marino, 2012). There was a challenge of claim citizenship between men and women, and women did not want to be represented in the civic life by their male counterparts but to participate themselves. They came up with the suffrage movement around 1910 that had some political agendas; it worked towards bringing togetherness among women (Head, 2017).

The passing of the Nineteenth Amendment gave women more confidence to form a new organization - the League of Women Voters. The Association trained them to practice their citizenship rights. Women's forces toward reform were very influential in the late 1910s (Head, 2017). During the period of the World War I, women took over jobs left by men who had joined the United States troops. It later followed the World War II where the women’s liberation movement started. Most male people went to defend the State as women took the mantle to control and maintain the economy. The economy was stable at the time; the conclusion was that women could successfully work just like men.

The liberation body founded in 1966 to fight existing discrimination against women had to lead them through many challenges. It was an entity established by Betty Friedan that worked in full force to free women from inequalities that they went through like political participation and educational rights restrictions (Head, 2017). Later on, in 1972, there was a force that pushed women to participate in politics, where Shirley Chisholm had to run as a presidential candidate. In the early 1980s, the military participation restrictions were also dropped to give chances for women to join military.

The development of anti-abortion and the Phyllis Schlafly’s movement succeeded to make women perceived as powerful. In 1981, the women were involved in State’s ruling when Sandra Day got nominated for the Supreme Court, later Geraldine Ferraro had to vie for vice president’s position (Marino, 2012). At the same time, more women got posts to run most professionalism positions of the day. As the century approached the end, women enjoyed many civic rights and had advanced more politically. The women had transformed not only their political landscape but also their academic and cultural dimensions as was recognized in the male-centered society much more before the beginning of the twenty-first century.

In conclusion, however, when the 20th century began, it was the period when women discovered their potential. It was the time they had built the force among themselves to ensure they fought for their rights. Women formed entities that could bring them along, fight together for significant achievements. The liberations that were taking place required women, like Phyllis Schlafly who sacrificed themselves for the benefit of the whole society.


Head, T. (2017). Feminism in the United States. ThoughtCo. Retrieved on June 4, 2017 from

Marino, K. (2012). The heritage of Latin American women’s political empowerment. The Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Retrieved on June 4, 2017 from

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