Women as Secondary Citizens

In the presentations this week, I came across a quote from a Rhonda Lois Blumberg’s Women in the Civil Rights Revolution: Reform or Revolution? that was referenced. It read, “[d]espite the active participation of women in revolutionary movements, feminist impulses that surface are usually considered secondary to the ‘main’ battle and are not allowed to interfere with it. The stirrings of feminism, within the civil rights movement were considered divisive.” (Blumberg 137) This really made me think beyond the civil rights movement in America over to any struggle or movement, by the oppressed, that I have heard of. Women are always last. It is always a fight for independence that the said oppressed – men and women – work together towards achieving this goal. After overcoming multiple hardships, when independence from the oppressor is achieved, men get all the rights, but women need to continue their struggle to further achieve the rights that they helped the men achieve. This sad truth seems to be a pattern. In India, when the country gained independence from the British Raj, after two hundred years of struggle, the men could have some respite, but the women had to continue their struggle. The British, took the convenient and non-controversial route and did not take a decision on female suffrage. It is after the Montagu – Chelmsford reforms that women were granted the right to vote. These discussions took place before India formally became independent, which meant that the time period for women to achieve this goal was relatively shorter to that in other countries. In the US, it took nearly a hundred years for women to achieve this feat. The fact that women, in so many culturally and geographically different situations are ignored to a point where their rights are seen as a secondary issue is a problem I fail to understand the root of. How did the phenomenon of male superiority come about at different times across the world, in vastly different contexts? And why was it ever okay? 

One thought on “Women as Secondary Citizens”

  1. I 100% agree with the point you made here, and I wish I knew the answer to the questions you posed at the end. Theresa alluded to this idea in class today as well. It seems that despite race and other socio-cultural elements, gender is always at play at the heart of any issue. As a gender studies student, this is something I am always thinking about and bothered by. As we also mentioned today, it’s as if we are eternally struggling to be like the white man.

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