In celebration of Women’s History Month, let’s take a look back at when the first woman entered the world of politics in the United States. Spoiler alert: it was a lot earlier than you might think!
Checkout this video:
The First Woman in Politics in the USA
The first woman in politics in the USA wasgerrymandered in 1872. gerrymandered districts are ones where the boundaries have been drawn in a way that benefits one party or particular group. In this case, the district was created to benefit the Republican Party. Her name was Susanna Salter, and she became the first female mayor in the United States when she was elected in Argonia, Kansas.
The Second Wave of Feminism in the USA
The first stirrings of a second wave of feminism in the United States came in the early 1960s with the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. This book, which told the stories of a group of suburban housewives who were discontent with their lives, captured the imagination of a generation of women and sparked a wave of feminist activism that would continue throughout the rest of the decade.
In 1966, Friedan helped to found the National Organization for Women (NOW), which quickly became one of the most powerful feminist advocacy groups in the country. NOW’s main goals were to push for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and to pass laws against sex discrimination in education and employment. Although it would take several more years for these goals to be realized, the momentum generated by NOW’s early campaigns set the stage for future feminist victories.
The second wave of feminism also saw the emergence of a number of important feminist publications, including Ms. magazine (founded in 1972) and Lilith magazine (founded in 1976). These magazines gave voice to a new generation of feminists who were eager to share their experiences and ideas with others.
In addition to its impact on popular culture, the second wave of feminism also had a significant impact on American politics. In 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party black candidate for President, and in 1984, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to appear on a major-party presidential ticket as Walter Mondale’s running mate. Although neither Chisholm nor Ferraro was elected President, their candidacies helped to break down barriers for women in politics and paved the way for future female candidates.
The Third Wave of Feminism in the USA
The Third Wave of Feminism in the USA is usually dated from 1992 onwards and is associated with blogs, social media and the rise of the “Lean In” movement. This wave of feminism is also known as “post-feminism” due to thefact that it is seen as a response to, or reaction against, second-wave feminism.
Many women who are part of the Third Wave of Feminism in the USA are young and digital natives who came of age during the presidency of Barack Obama. They are often referred to as “millennial feminists” or “Generation Z feminists”. Some key issues that this wave of feminism has tackled include: reproductive rights, body autonomy and body shaming, slut-shaming, trans rights and inclusion, rape culture, consent education and #MeToo.
Notable women associated with the Third Wave of Feminism in the USA include: Beyonce, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The Fourth Wave of Feminism in the USA
The fourth wave of feminism in the United States began in January 2017 with the Women’s March, when millions of people joined protests around the world to oppose President Donald Trump’s policies that were seen as sexist, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant. The movement has been called the “largest single day for demonstrations in American history”.
Fourth-wave feminism is characterized by a focus on digital technology and social media, and is intersectional, meaning it takes into account race, ethnicity, religion, class, and disability along with gender. The goals of the fourth wave are to end sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia; to achieve economic equality; and to protect the environment.
Notable leaders of the fourth wave include Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.