Equality for Women in the Workplace Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1504 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

Emma Goldman

The interesting thing about history is, as the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." In the last century, the U.S. has undergone tremendous technological change. In many respects, it has changed in its political philosophy as well. In 1907, the 19th Amendment for women's suffrage was still years away from being ratified and the Civil Rights Act was not signed until 1964. In the 1900s, Emma Goldman was one of the most rebellious individuals who strongly advocated for a number of causes including equality and independence for women, freedom of thought and expression, radical education, sexual freedom and birth control, and union organization and the eight-hour day. Then she was known as "Red Emma" and an anarchist. However, many of the things she fought for (or against) 100 years ago, are just as relevant today as they were then. Attorney General Caffey wrote in 1917, "Emma Goldman is a woman of great ability and of personal magnetism, and her persuasive powers make her an exceedingly dangerous woman." One newspaper editor described her as "8,000 years ahead of her time" (Jewish Women's Archive)

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For example, it is interesting to look at her support of women's rights. In 1897, Goldman wrote: "I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases." She strongly believed that women labored under distinct disability of inequality. She continually advocated for the need for the economic, social and sexual emancipation of women. The patriarchal, sexual and reproductive repression, and economic limitations all led to women's inferior status and ability to have power as an individual. Marriage was nothing but legal prostitution where women traded sex for economic and social standing. In addition, believing that enforced childbearing further limited economic and sexual autonomy, she also strongly spoke out for birth control and the woman's right to make her decision to have or not have children (Falk 203).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Equality for Women in the Workplace Assignment

Her speech, "The Tragedy of Women's Emancipation," published in 1911, has some quotes that are very relevant today. "...but I hold that the emancipation of woman, as interpreted and practically applied today, has failed to reach that great end. Now, woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation, if she really desires to be free. This may sound paradoxical, but is, nevertheless, only too true" (Goldman 219)

Since these words were said, women have made many inroads. Yet progress still needs to come. According to the American Association of University Women, "It doesn't take long for male bachelor's-degree graduates to financially outpace their female counterparts upon entering the workforce..." (Needleman) After a year of full-time employment, women earn 20% less than men, when comparing the salaries of the two genders from data from the U.S. Department of Education.

These statistics are more noteworthy when considering that women assumed slightly more than half of U.S. jobs created in the first part of the decade and made gains in securing the most lucrative openings, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Between 2000 and 2005, women posted a net increase of 1.7 million jobs paying above the median salary, while men gained just over 220,000, the study shows. Thus, women have the freedom to work, but still not getting equal pay (Needleman).

As Goldman quoted: "Emancipation has brought woman economic equality with man; that is, she can choose her own profession and trade; but as her past and present physical training has not equipped her with the necessary strength to compete with man, she is often compelled to exhaust all her energy, use up her vitality, and strain every nerve in order to reach the market value." She adds that very few succeed, for women teachers, doctors, lawyers, architects, and engineers are not met with the same confidence as their male peers, or receive equal remuneration (Goldman 219).

In terms of free speech, admittedly much head way has been made since Goldman worked with the first Free Speech League that demanded that everyone in the U.S. have a basic right to express personal ideas, no matter how radical or controversial they were. Directly out of her work came the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union, setting in motion the beginnings of the modern free speech movement in the United States, and continuing strongly to this day. For example, just in June of this year, the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against Gregory Jenkins, a former high-level White House staffer who implemented a policy that excluded anyone thought to be critical of the administration from public events where President Bush was present.

Further, on August 4, the ACLU condemned the House and Senate for hurrying to support the administration's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The administration is doing what it can to alter legislation before Congress recesses. A FISA court judge recently rejected its use of wide-scale, untargeted surveillance. The bill, which was passed in the Senate by a vote of 60 to 28 (with the House's vote is to come).

A allows intelligence agencies to intercept without a court order the calls and emails of Americans communicating with people abroad and gives authority for this to the attorney general.

It would also be interesting to see what Goldman thought of the history behind the Iraq war. Although she was not a pacifist, like most anarchists she believed that the state had no right to make war. For her, World War I, appeared to be the worst representation of modern war. Although some said that it was fought for democratic ideals, she belived that the capitalists encouraged this war at the expense of the working class and other oppressed populations. The federal government, upset with her antiwar actions, banned her book Mother Earth in 1917 along with many other antiwar periodicals. This did not stop her. He helped kick off the No-Conscription League in 1917, right after the U.S. entered the war. On behalf of the League, Goldman argued that the draft contradicted basic American principles of liberty. "In these days when every principle and conception of democracy and individual liberty is being cast overboard under the pretext of democratizing Germany," she wrote, "it behooves every liberty loving man and woman to insist on his or her right of individual choice in the ordering of his life and action" (Falk).

Shortly thereafter, she was arrested and charged with conspiring against the draft. During the trial, she argued that her actions were not un-American but patriotic, for they supported the ideas of the American democracy. She had exercised her right to free speech and alerting others about what was being done by the government. Ultimately, she

Goldman was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.After an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court, Goldman entered the Missouri State Penitentiary in and was deported to Russia after the war (Ibid 159).

Surely, anyone in the United States today has the right to speak out against the war in Iraq, and more are doing so every day. One just has to question how the war began and how much say the average person had in what has been taking place.

Of course, there are ways that Goldman's philosophy differed considerably from those in the U.S., primarily her anarchist philosophy. When Goldman died in 1940, she was poor and disliked by both the Russian and the United States governments and many of their supporters because of her outspoken ways about their injustices. By the end of her days, she was impoverished, exiled from America, disheartened, and mostly forgotten by people she had supported around the world. Yet, she continued until the very end of her life to support her issues and was extremely active in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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