Mujeres Libres II

Lead: During the Spanish Civil War, a women’s liberation movement, Mujeres Libres, free women of Spain, pushed for a far more radical social revolution for women than even their male allies on the left were willing to tolerate.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Even by contemporary standards, the condition of Spanish women in the 1930s was pitiful. Clearly oppressed, women’s wages were half that of men, daughters were handed over to husbands as property, divorce was illegal. Women could not be out at night without a chaperone. Until the War, women’s rights groups focused on minor adjustments such as legalizing divorce, but during the liberating early days of the civil conflict, women’s organizations, allied with anarchist political groups, began to press for serious social change.

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Mujeres Libres I

Lead: The Spanish Civil War provided a window of opportunity for the reformation of society. Among the most aggressive groups seeking fundamental change was a feminist organization emerging from Spanish anarchism, Mujeres Libres, free women of Spain.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Political parties in the United States traditionally have been big tent consensus parties. While extremism left and right has certainly been a part of the American political spectrum, the nature of politics here pushes this sentiment to the margin. Extremists have influence, but must become a part of one of the major parties to exercise power. In Europe the development of democracy allowed a much more brilliant display of political variety, particularly up to the middle of the twentieth century. Political parties proliferated and often reflected narrow, extreme opinion.

Mary Wollstonecraft II

Lead: For ten years after 1787, Mary Wollstonecraft, exercising a gentile emancipation, alternately affronted and fascinated a generation of literary cognoscenti. She helped inspire the women’s rights movement.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After a difficult childhood, Wollstonecraft enjoyed a decade of literary success and social notoriety. She broke into the wide public imagination with an angry polemic, a vigorous critique of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. He had championed the American rebellion, she reasoned, and now was recanting his enthusiasm for liberty because of skepticism over the French experiment. She followed this Vindication of the Rights of Men, with her best known work, a companion volume, Vindication of the Rights of Women, the core of which was an attack on the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He decreed that women were tools for pleasure, moral privilege, political deference and education were wasted on women. The rights of man should actually be the rights of humanity, she asserted, and the most supreme right is that of thinking. This work made Wollstonecraft a European celebrity.

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Mary Wollstonecraft I

Lead: While she did not found the women’s right’s movement, Mary Wollstonecraft, inspired those who did. She helped people begin to understand that the limits of liberty could be cast widely, even to women.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: She grew up in the home of a prosperous weaver, the oldest daughter among six children. As the years passed Edward Wollstonecraft evolved into a drunken lout who beat his wife, offspring and even the family dog, but as her mother faded into hopeless denial, Mary kept the family intact, resisting her father’s violence while she devoted her childhood to raising her younger siblings. A brief formal education ending in her fifteenth year was soon married to her native intelligence, inquisitiveness, and resolve and Mary began the long path of disappointment and work that led to that brief but brilliant writing career that opened minds and sensibilities to new role for women in the modern age.

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Justice Sandra Day O’Connor II

Lead: While she generally sided with the conservatives on the Supreme Court, at times Sandra Day O’Connor was fully willing to depart from orthodoxy. Consider her approach to abortion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The preamble to the 1986 Missouri law declared that “the life of each human being begins at conception.” It went on to severely restrict reproductive services at public hospitals and required costly tests to determine fetal viability if the woman appeared to be 20 weeks pregnant. This seemed to violate the core principles of Roe v. Wade the 1973 Court decision denying states jurisdiction over abortion and, thus permitting abortions prior to the third trimester of pregnancy. The lower courts eviscerated the Missouri law.

 


Justice Sandra Day O’Connor I

Lead: In 1981 President Ronald Reagan made legal history by appointing Judge Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. The first woman justice, she soon occupied the center of the court.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: O’Connor was born in Texas in 1930 but grew up on her parent’s Arizona ranch. She was attracted to the law because of a legal dispute involving her parents’ property and graduated from Stanford Law School. As a student, she sat on the board of the Stanford Law Review, a prestigious position that, had she been a man, would probably have secured her a position in an upscale law firm. Such was not the case and she and a partner formed their own legal partnership. Active in Arizona Republican politics, she was appointed to a vacated seat in the Arizona Senate and served two additional terms, elected by her colleagues as majority leader. Appointment to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979 established her as one of the most prominent women jurists in the country. 

 


Susan B Anthony II

Lead:  Devoted to a succession of causes, Susan Brownell Anthony did not hesitate to challenge laws she felt were discriminatory.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: At the end of the Civil War, women's rights advocates renewed the struggle which had lain fallow as the North concentrated on saving the Union. In 1869, Susan Anthony and her associate Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Women's Suffrage Association and a national newspaper, The Revolution, which in its short life vigorously addressed women's issues including problems they faced in the workplace. Despite the good reception Anthony was receiving around the country, it seemed to her that little real progress was being made, therefore she decided to take more direct action. In the elections of November 1872, she and a handful of women walked into the Rochester, New York registration office and demanded to be registered as voters. Four days later they cast their ballots, three weeks after that, Anthony was arrested.

 

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Susan B Anthony I

Lead: In a life devoted to various causes, Susan B. Anthony proved herself in many ways far ahead of her times.

 Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Susan Brownell Anthony was born in 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Her father was a prosperous cotton manufacturer. A Quaker and an abolitionist, a man who hated alcohol, Daniel Anthony who gave his daughter a strict upbringing and demonstrated a zeal for moral crusading that Susan would follow for the rest of her life.

 

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