WOMENST 3GG3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Lucy Burns, Alice Paul, Animage

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3WW3 Exam Questions
Document 2: U.S Birthrate Graph
- US Birth Rate declining due to more women working, women entering into higher education in
larger numbers, but most importantly due to increased use of birth control
-Reasons for Birth Control: greater urbanization (means children are an economic liability rather
than an asset), parents want to focus on the children they already have, and there are concerns
about the mothers health
-Increase in women in the workforce = having children later and the cost of having children
increased (if a woman already had children they were worried about their well being first, needed
more money to take of them so working longer & is a reinforcing cycle OR if they wanted to
have a child or more children needed to work to achieve that goal
- Depression hits and families affected economically, didn’t want to have more children because
they could barely support the family they already have
- Both are true but to prevent pregnancy for those these abortions are being sought and
information regarding birth control
-1840-1880 commercial “preps” becoming more available meaning more women have access to
that technology and are using it= less or no children
- Legislation across USA and CAN which means both governments identified that there was a
“problem”, even though legislation information is still being disseminated because women still
wanted it, and abortion clinics, although illegal, were open
REAGAN- reading
- women pressured doctors for help = expansion of medical practice of abortion in the 30s, not
just the back alley abortions
- the access to services and information not equal for classes or races
- doctors established chains of clinics servicing thousands of women ex. Gabler-Martin clinics
-some women were so desperate they physically induced abortions (many dying)
- women like M. Sanger birth control crusader who created pamphlet, and spread it, arrested
multiple times, she wanted information to be accessed and used by women
- Reproductive Rights (legal and safe access to contraception and abortion, protection from
abuses such as forced sterilization) – assistance of women in colour not only right to
contraception and abortion but also sterilization
The graph also depicts the baby boom that occurred in the United States between 1945 and
1960. The baby boom took place because people were getting married younger, therefore earlier
births of children resulted in larger families as well
It is important because it reversed the 150 year long trend of declining birth rates in the
United States and helped feed the nation’s economy in the post-war period.
According to historian Elaine Tyler May, the baby boom is more than just a demographic
change but is also an ideology. It occurred because there were cultural messages at the time that
endorsed reproduction in the US through popular culture, Hollywood, politics, literature, and
more. The overall message was that a true participant of society was responsible for raising
children. After WWII and into the Cold War, the US was obsessed with stabilizing the country,
and a strong nation started with strong families. Women came into the picture within this context
because they were consistently told that their role was confined to the home and motherhood.
Therefore elements of domesticity were a major part of the baby boom because women were
being pressured to have children and to be good mothers in an effort to support and rebuild the
nation. It catalyzed the images of Good Mothers and Bad Mothers, perpetuating the belief that
women’s focus should be on the home and raising good children. The baby boom’s relationship
with domesticity worked in two ways. On one hand, the enormous amount of children being born
caused the government to be concerned with their upbringing and contribution to the country,
therefore they endorsed domesticity and good mothering. One the other, domesticity continued
the trend and contributed to the high birth rate because women were also told that reproduction
was their primary role and they should be raising large families.
Document 3: The ERA, National Women’s Party, 1923
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the US Constitution brought
forth by the National Women’s Party, a women’s organization founded by Alice Paul and Lucy
Burns to combat women’s suffrage. This piece of proposed legislation represents the key goals of
feminism at the time which were targeting discriminatory laws that disadvantaged women. It
demanded that there should be equality under the law and everyone should have their rights
protected no matter their sex.
There were groups that were pro-ERA and anti-ERA, and the women opposed to ERA argued
that they had fought so long to be treated as a special class of workers due to their reproductive
role, and that this legislation would make them equal, and therefore invalidate sex-based laws.
They recognized the importance of women’s inherent differences and wanted equity over
equality, while NWP was supporting a singular claim that gender was the cause of their
It was important because the Equal Rights Amendment was not supported by everyone and
women and feminists were divided and did not unanimously agree with the fact that it was the
solution to their problems. It shows the exclusion present in the so-called “first wave” feminism
where all the emphasis and focus was on elite women or women who were skilled workers and
professionals. It ignored racism, classism, and other forms of oppression, and favoured women
who were not the most desperately in need of protection. The debate over the ERA is important
because it shows the un-unified and segregated nature of feminism in the 1920s that continued
until the 1960s, and how it harmed the push for women’s rights. It also serves to illustrate how
the meaning of equality was not so simple and had differing definitions for different women.
According to Nancy Cott, the efforts made here by the National Women’s Party to implement
the Equal Rights Amendment had an enormous impact on feminism at the time. The public
perceived feminism as exclusionary and sectarian because the proposed amendment ignored
suffrage that other women were experiencing, and had too narrow of a scope. It demonstrated a
“single-issue” approach which was not in tune with “real life”, and this had harmful
consequences to the term feminism. As a result, the National Women’s Party was considered to
be comprised of “hysterical feminists”.
Step By Step film: Battling for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – was minimum
commitment to equality to women, basic document, impt to reflect women’s fundamental rights,
believes that equal women should be under the law, would be safer (as Roman Catholic sisters)
on the streets, why certain women able to be secure on the streets & other women not, a new
generation was a women’s liberation movement for gender & race