Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. Our show is special because we make it our priority to go where the silence is. We put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2016. And, today a generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar. That means when you give $10 today, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? Please do your part today. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2016.

Your Donation: $

Celebrating Women's Rights

July 15, 1998

One hundred fifty years ago the women’s rights movement grew out of the fight to abolish slavery. Angered by their exclusion from leadership and public speaking at abolitionist conventions and inspired by the power of the Iroquois women, a small dedicated group of women and men built a movement.

In July 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and 300 others convened the first Women’s Rights Convention. The body approved the 11 resolutions comprising the Declaration of Sentiments, including the works which would prove to be a catalyst for suffrage: "That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise."

The suffragists won property rights for married women, opened the doors of higher education for women, and won the vote for women in 1920. In 1923, on the 75th anniversary of the convention, Alice Paul chose Seneca Falls as the place to begin the drive for the Equal Rights Amendment, launching the campaign for women to win full justice under the law in order to end economic, educational, and political inequality.

But the struggle for women’s rights was not without its contradictions and tensions, especially over racial parity. Listeners may remember the controversy last year over a statue of women’s rights activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony that was put up in the Capitol rotunda. Absent from the group was Sojourner Truth, but a statue of the Black feminist is being unveiled today in the Women’s Rights National Historic Park.


  • Vivian Rose, is the head of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Prof. Margaret Washington teaches Women’s Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Call (315) 568-0007.

Related links: