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Women's Movements Terms

Title IX

Part of the 1972 Education Act, Title IX guarantees women equal access to educational opportunities, including extracurricular activities such as athletics.

Seneca Falls

The town in New York that hosted America's first women's rights conference in 1848. About 300 people, including 40 men adopted a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled closely after the Declaration of Independence, asserting the "self-evident" truth that "all men and women were created equal." The delegates also adopted eleven resolutions, including one declaring it "the duty of women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise."69


Term applied to the militant faction of the British women's movement campaigning for the right to vote. Because of the negative connotations often attached to the term, American women campaigning for the right to vote preferred the label suffragist.


The Abolitionist journal founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1831.

"Silent Sentinels"

Members of the National Woman's Party who stood silent vigil outside the White House. Their banners urged President Woodrow Wilson and Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Fourteen Points

President Woodrow Wilson drafted this plan for peace in 1918. He presented it at the Versailles peace conference following World War I, but failed to winincorporation of all fourteen points into the finalized treaty.

President Woodrow Wilson's plan for international peace following World War I. It included calls for unrestricted trade between nations, no secret alliances, arms limitations, and the founding of an international organization to mediate international disputes (the League of Nations).

"problem That Has No Name"

Term coined by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique to describe the discontent among middle class women during the 1950s and 1960s. She argued that many women, often well educated, were forced to abandon careers and construct identities through their husbands in order to conform to idealized vision of femininity.

Stop ERA

Movement led by Phyllis Schlafly that opposed ratification of the Equal rights Amendment.

Moral Majority

A loosely organized coalition of social and political conservatives, including evangelical Christians, that exercised considerable influence on American politics and public policy during the 1980s.

American Anti-Slavery Society

The most prominent abolitionist organization of the antebellum period. Founded by Theodore Weld and Arthur and Lewis Tappan, the AASS argued that "moral suasion" could bring an end to slavery. Toward that end the society sponsored antislavery speakers and delivered thousands of petitions to Congress.

National Woman Suffrage Association

founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in 1869, the NWSA lobbied for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

National American Woman Suffrage Association

formed in 1890 through a merger of the National Woman Suffrage Association of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and the American Woman Suffrage Association of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell. The two organizations set aside their earlier disagreements over tactics and launched a two-pronged campaign aimed at securing the right to vote through both state legislative action and the passage of a national constitutional amendment.

National Woman's Party

Founded by Alice Paul in 1916, the NWP argued that a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote could be won only through confrontational tactics. "Silent Sentinels" held daily vigil outside the White House carrying banners urging President Woodrow Wilson and Congress to take action. Hundreds were arrested and jailed before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in August 1920.

National Organization For Women

Founded in 1966 and led during its first five years by Betty Friedan, NOW is the most prominent contemporary women's rights organization. In its early years, NOW focused primarily on employment discrimination, but over the past four decades NOW has defined a broader agenda which includes ensuring reproductive rights, fighting sexual harassment, ending violence against women, and securing rights for lesbians.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Federal agency created by Congress to enforce the employment discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

American Equal Rights Association

An organization founded after the Civil War by women's rights activists and abolitionists dedicated to securing political rights for African Americans and women.

Women's Social And Political Union

Led by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, this British women's organization argued that the vote could only be won through militant tactics. The WPSU abandoned earlier strategies—petition drives and prayer meetings—and instead staged confrontations with political figures, disrupted public events, and smashed windows to draw attention to their cause.

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