Seneca Falls Convention - History of Business in the U.S.The Event: First women’s rights convention in the United States
Date: July 19-20, 1848
Place: Seneca Falls, New York
Significance: The Seneca Falls Convention started the struggle for woman suffrage and launched the women’s rights movement, which eventually resulted in dramatic changes in women’s roles in the business world.
More than three hundred men and women attended the Seneca Falls Convention and voted to approve the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, which demanded that women have equal rights of citizenship, personal liberty, and property; equal wages and opportunities to be employed; guardianship of children on divorce; and the ability to participate in church and civic government.
After the initial convention, at annual meetings, attendees agreed that they needed to work for laws to allow women to obtain equal rights and suffrage, but they differed as to the priorities of these demands, and eventually the movement split into two groups. One group concentrated on obtaining suffrage and the other on gaining a wider range of women’s rights. Eventually the leaders of the two groups joined together and, in 1920, were successful in passing the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the vote.
After attaining suffrage, members of the women’s movement were divided on whether to support or oppose federal protective legislation for women, which limited their working hours and the kinds of jobs for which they could be hired.
The second wave of feminism during the 1960’s and 1970’s revived the fight for women’s rights in marital matters, job opportunities, equal pay, and legal protections, and was fanned by a renewed awareness of the 1848 efforts. The women’s movement, through legislative and social change, has had a profound effect on the world of business and finance.
Erika E. Pilver
See also: affirmative action programs; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; labor history; Women in business.