The civil rights movement was formed by African Americans who struggled to gain equality in America, in the 1950s and the 1960s (Baldez 244). The struggle for equality addresses discrimination issues in employment, the right to vote, housing, public facilities, and housing. The feminist movement, on the other hand, promoted equality based on gender and control of discrimination in education, employment, and access to public amenities. The feminist movement is commonly known as the women’s movement since it pushed for equality on women. The feminist movement occurred in two phases, first in the 1840s and the 1960s. The movements created an impact on the social and political stand.
The two movements were both in support of equality on social issues. The first feminist movement focused on the issues of voting and property rights while the second movement focused on a variety of issues of family, employment opportunities, legal inequalities such as violence and their reproductive rights. The second wave of feminism resulted into employment gains of women who were now developing careers in the corporate world. The battle against violence focused on family issues such as marital rape and battering of women, and custody cases in divorce. The second wave ended in early1980s giving way to the third wave that dealt with pornography and sexuality in the 1990s (Arsenault 246).
The constitution provided a provision for the enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, where it allowed the women chances of equal treatment. In 1982, it failed to receive the ratification number of votes required; thus it was not adopted (Critchlow 33). The political strife gave rise to the third wave movement. The political influence thwarted every effort of assimilating women in equal political positions as men. There has been several struggles with the ratification of the ERA where some states have assimilated it while others still retaliate. The constitution has not fully protected the amendment into a bill. The civil movement used the constitution as a tool of their arguments. President Truman had declared equal treatment and opportunities for all persons in the army, with no regard to race and ethnicity in 1948 (Arseault 266). The civil movement pushed for the enactment of law due to discrimination on employment and education. The civil groups pushed the cases to the Supreme Courts for the implementation of the law. Example is the case of Sarah Keys V Carolina Bus for racial discrimination, which she won (Arsenault 267).
The first wave of feminism was propagated by upper and middle class white women who were suffering with political inequality. The convention was held in New York with 68 women and 32 men who signed up. The party was able to push for the nineteenth Amendment, through the creation of the National Women’s Party, approved in 1920 (Critchlow 46). This marked the end of the first movement. The third wave campaigned for the influence of women in politics. However, the third wave incorporated all classes of women from all races and religion to push for the equal treatment politically and socially. Civil rights aimed for equality in the treatment of minority groups and in politics.
The second wave of feminism was geared towards the combating of inequalities in social and cultural issues. The civil rights movement was based on ethnic definitions in their policies, mainly with the Black who took the frontier to oppose the discrimination against them by the Whites. The civil movements dealt with all the genders included, male, and female unlike the feminist movement that was mainly for women issues. The social issues addressed by the civil movements included sexism issues, where they supported the gay liberation from 1970s. The movement was supposed to treat homosexual with social acceptance and equally. The feminist movement; however, was not involved with the sexism issues, but wanted the woman to have the freedom of choice over her organs.
The approach used by the women feminist groups included the formation of groups that spearheaded the policies of the movement. The women took to the streets from peaceful demonstration to gather supporters. Civil rights group approach included boycotts, marches, demonstrations, and sit-ins. In 1956, there was the Montgomery Bus Boycott that happened in Alabama, which led to a sit-in at Rosa Parks. The people in North Carolina also participated in the Greensboro sit-ins, in 1960 (Arsenault 249). Rallies were held by the civil rights movement where leaders would address the public and call to for unity so that equal rights would be advocated. For instance, Martin Luther held crusades where he addressed the public with a common message of having a hope that Blacks and Whites would live in harmony and equity.
In conclusion, it is evident that even though the movements had different approaches and policies, they all fought for equality in the treatment of American Citizens. The women pushed for equal rights through the feminism groups and were able to achieve recognition in the constitution. The movements are still functional since liberation of women through equal treatment has not been fully achieved. However, the Civil Rights movement has benefited in their motive and with the election of a President Barrack Obama, ended the movement on racial matters.
Arsenault, Raymon. Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Baldez, Lisa. Does the U.S. Constitution Need an Equal Rights Amendment?”. Journal of Legal Studies, 2006, 35 (1): 243–283.
Critchlow, Donald, and Cynthia, Stachecki. The Equal Rights Amendment Reconsidered: Politics, Policy, and Social Mobilization in a Democracy. Journal of Policy History, 2008, 20(1).