Jane Addams and Women’s March Movement

Introduction

The development of social ideas, like any other aspect of human life, requires not only people’s effort but also time. Even more, time is needed to adopt new theories and implement change into the areas of life they target. Social movements as the platforms for such changes have emerged across the globe for centuries, shaping the world into the desired one. However, some ideas, although very relevant and clear, have to withstand challengingly long periods to be fulfilled, such as human and women’s rights, peace, and equality. A prominent social theorist Jane Addams addressed these issues on the edge of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, they remain relevant for the American society, which, in the face of the Women’s March movement, fights to change the reality of modern politics. In this paper, the main theories introduced by Jane Addams will be presented. Also, a broad characteristic of Women’s March as a social movement will be provided with the following comparison of the theorist’s ideas and the goals of the organization.

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Jane Addams: Her Theories and Ideas

Jane Addams was an activist, philanthropist, and social worker who contributed to the advancement of social justice in the USA at the beginning of the twentieth century. Firstly, her main ideas included the promotion of pacifism and initiating peace movements across many countries, for which she was awarded a Nobel Prize. Secondly, as a devoted feminist, Addams insisted on “expanding the woman’s sphere beyond the narrow confines of the home,” prioritizing active women’s inclusion in socially essential activities (Shields, 2015, p. 25). Thirdly, the reformer viewed settlements as an opportunity to support the poor, homeless, and immigrants. Equal opportunity for education, medication, and personal development was pivotal for Addams. Finally, one of the other main ideas concerned workers’ rights for better labor conditions and relevant wages (Shields, 2015). All these efforts contributed to the commemoration of Jane Addams as a prominent personality in the history of the USA.

Women’s March as a Social Movement

General Information

Women’s March is the name of the American social movement that has gathered millions of women across the states. There are many goals the female participants want to achieve with the help of the organization. They include civil, reproductive, immigrant, and disability rights for women, as well as ending violence, improving workers’ rights, and ensure environmental justice (“Mission and principles,” 2019). In general, the main goal of the movement is equality for all in the United States.

As it is stated on the official Women’s March website, their mission is “to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change” (“Mission and principles,” 2019, para. 1). The organization aims at strategic coordination of actions at the federal, state, and local levels to achieve its goals (Graves, 2019). Women’s March is led by co-presidents Tamika D. Mallory and Bob Bland and board members Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour. The choice of this movement was motivated by the acute relevance of the issues for which these women fight, especially in the time of highly controversial politics of the current US President.

History

Women’s march was incepted in 2017 immediately after the inauguration of Donald Trump. The movement emerged as a reaction to the discriminative statements of the newly elected President about women and minorities (Graves, 2019). The organizers who started the campaign were female representatives of several ethnicities Vanessa Wruble, Tamika D. Mallory, and Carmen Perez. Initiated as a single-day march on Washington that was later named the biggest one-day protest the US history, Women’s March evolved into an organization supported by numerous sponsors with annual demonstrations held across the USA (Graves, 2019).

The Present State of the Movement

Today, the Women’s March has gained international acclaim, with more women in different countries joining the movements for human rights. The organization is relatively new and has not achieved its primary goals yet. However, they established a dialogue with senators to attract attention to the issues the participant’s address. Also, in recent months, there has occurred a difficulty with sponsorship which caused a fraction in the organization. However, it gave a start to a new branch of the movement, March On, which aims at fighting for women’s rights at work and promotes sexual harassment awareness (Graves, 2019). The campaign continues to work to achieve politicians’ legal response to their demands.

Reflection on the Goals of the Movement

If Jane Addams had had a comment on the Women’s March Movement, she would have supported it because there are many goals within this organization that match the ones of Addams. The marching women fight for equality, workers’ rights, peace, and immigrants’ rights in the same way Jane Addams did a hundred years ago. In my opinion, the ideas the movement supports are of great importance for contemporary politics in the USA. The country is regarded as free and just; however, there are problems and unresolved social disparities concerning women that do not coincide with the claimed philosophy of the United States. Therefore, I agree with the movement, as well as I agree with the theorist who fought for the same goals a long time ago. It is even more relevant that the problems addressed more than a century ago are still unresolved in a highly developed society. I would raise awareness about equality for all in my community to help broaden the scope of influence of the social movement.

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References

Graves, L. (2019). Women’s March to take to streets after controversy divides movement. The Guardian. Web.

Mission and principles. (2019). Web.

Shields, P. M. (2015). Building the fabric of peace: Jane Addams and peaceweaving. Global Virtue Ethics Review, 7(3), 21-33.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Jane Addams and Women’s March Movement'. 5 June.

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