While studying at an alternative liberal arts college it’s easy to think that in modern society, we’ve all but done away with social inequalities, there’s still a long way to go before we reach what could be considered equality. There are still injustices and prejudices that run rampant – even at a small liberal arts college - and now more than ever before is when we should be making even greater strides in equal treatment and opportunities for everyone, no matter what gender they identify with, what sexual orientation they are or what race they are.
In the fight for equality, there’s a lot we can learn from some of America’s most famous feminists who have long been waging a war on inequality that’s still very much palpable in our current cultural climate. We still have a lot of growing to do, not only in gender inequality but LGBT rights as well. The amazing strides that these American feminist leaders made in their day are so provocative and groundbreaking that they can inspire us to do a better job at fighting injustice in this day and age.
Susan B. Anthony
A woman who a majority of people would consider America’s first feminist, Susan B. Anthony fought incredibly long and hard for women’s suffrage, even getting arrested after illegally registering to vote and voting in the presidential election of 1872. She was tireless in organizing rallies, and she formed the Women’s Royal League to support the presidential politics of Abraham Lincoln.
She taught us that we need not be scared of prosecution in standing up for something that is morally just in which we firmly believe in. She’s gone on not only to inspire a minted coin in her honor, but generations of people who realize that change sometimes can only come about with great upheaval and personal sacrifice.
America’s first female doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, faced not only extreme taunting, adversity and scrutiny when she became the first female to ever enroll in medical school, but she completed the program at the top of her class. When no hospitals would hire her, because she was a woman, she instead bucked the curve again by starting her own clinic in New York City.
Blackwell demonstrated that the status quo is meant to be broken, that if you really believed in what you wanted to be and what you wanted to do, no rule was set in stone, and that you could enact change if you tried. This has more than carried over into the modern age, where homosexual couples were deciding to get married far before it was legal, because they knew they should have the right. We all need to take chances in order to make the world a better place.
So while we still have a lot of growing to do, the struggles that these women endured are not gone and not forgotten. They still have a lot to teach us, so next time you think that we live in a world without inequality or prejudice, just take a long hard look at how the current state of society is structured, and start thinking about how you can use your liberal arts degree to shake it up for the better like these women did.