Woman suffrage is a movement that was established to give females the right to vote as well as vie for an electoral position. This became of significance when it was recognized that women also had a right to determine and shape the destiny of their societies. Culture has for a long time sidelined women in issues of governance as they are considered weak and incapable. After a series of events and even movements that were led by women. It was realised that women had similar capacities as their male counterparts only that they were denied the opportunity. Culture has always given women the role of homemakers, taking care of the children and their husbands. All opportunities that would make them more significant like education and exposure were denied to them.
Amidst their busy schedules, women often found time to gather in informal meetings where they shared about the challenges that they faced in the homes. Through such fellowships, it was realised that they had similar problems, some which they faced because they were not well informed. The meetings that mainly started to empower women in their domestic chores such as hygiene and family planning turned up to be political movements where they demanded for more than just being at home to take care of their families (Liddington 64). It was realised that one of the reasons why they were being faced with such challenges was because they were not well represented in government leadership.
Since the entire responsibility of choosing leaders was done by men and for the men, the women realised that their issues were not addressed. The men who voted for their fellow men made biased decisions and laws that only favoured them. The only way that would solve the issue was to have some representation from the females. It was time for the voice of the women to be heard which could only be done if they had some influence on the kind of leaders that were to be chosen. The issue was faced with a lot of resistance more especially from the men who thought the women had run crazy. They were not ready to allow such a thing to happen as they thought the women would ultimately rebel against them. The male ego in them resisted the change priding in the fact that whatever decisions they made represented their needs.
It was quite difficult for the women to convince the men that they could not empathise with their issues no matter how much they tried. Culture looked at a woman as an insignificant human being who had no alternative but to accept whatever was brought their way. Women simply wanted men to understand that they were also human beings with rights that needed to be addressed (Liddington 38). Furthermore, the responsibilities they played in the society like taking care of the homes and even grooming children that will ultimately become leaders required them to participate more in national building. Being allowed to vote and hold positions would ensure that they have a person who is ready and willing to handle their issues.
After much struggle and resistances even from their fellow women, the suffrage finally bore some little fruit. Women needed to assure the men that such rights would not compromise with their homely responsibilities. it was however apparent that no matter how much power they could be given, women could never run away from their responsibilities. This is simply because of their famine nature that required them to not only give birth but also take care of their young ones. This are responsibilities that were specifically designed for the women which they have continued to carry on despite the many other tasks they have to perform. All that was required for the women was to prove that they had the ability to participate in other national issues as well as handle their responsibilities.
As the women penetrated leadership ranks and realised how much capability they had, they realised that they can fully commit themselves into leadership to better the society. This became even easier with education where women realised that giving birth and cooking was not the only thing they were born to do. With proper management of their households, they will be able to outsource some of their responsibilities and fully dedicate their lives to leadership. For instance, with family planning, a woman was able to minimize on the family burden of having to take care of a large family. They learned that they can only have a minimal number of children who would allow them pursue other responsibilities once they were grown.
As few women rose into ranks of power, they realised how much suffering a woman had been subjected to. There was need for more empowerment just to ensure the woman had the skills they required to face the challenges they encountered: they in fact realised that most of the challenges that women faced which were both social and economical was due to lack of information. The only way to counter this was to make the woman more informed through education. With only few women in power, it was quite hard to get all women to go to school as many were still engulfed in cultural practices (Harrison 65) . The few women that got the privilege of education now started imparting the skills through informal gatherings such as churches and other women groups. This paved way for more women who had to resist the harsh treatment they were receiving from their husbands as they demanded an opportunity to heard.
Among the challenges that the women suffrage encountered was the fact that most of the women were still so dependent on their husbands. The fact that they were relying on them for all their basic needs made it difficult for them to accept the change that was coming. Some of them were even denied the chance to socialize with the outside community when it became apparent that they were gaining a lot of knowledge and skills. The biggest challenge was to empower a woman economically so that they do not have to rely on their men for everything. Most of the cases of domestic violence that was reported in families was simply because the man was taking advantage of the inability of the woman to take care of her needs and that of her family. In fact, most women had to persevere through the torture simply because they needed to protect their families. It would be a lot easier if they were given the capacity to generate some income.
With such strategies in place, women were able to learn and discover some simple skills such as weaving, making clothes and mats. Such products could be sold and consequently generate some income for them. This was a good strategy as they could do such work in their homes without compromising their other activities. Through such determination, the men even came to discover how much burden they had been relieved from. Women were able to supplement for their income and hence making life even better and easier for them. With this strategy having worked, the man slowly started coming out from their cultural rigidity and allowed their women to participate in economic activities (Grimshaw 73). They learned that they had the capacity to capacity to take care of the homes and at the same time generate income:
Many years have passed since the women suffrage began and looking back, both men and women can admit that it was worth the fight. Currently. women enjoy equal democratic rights as their male counterparts. a woman in leadership still has to face various challenges including battling out and maintaining her position in a male dominated society. There is no turning back for the woman who has hence come to realise that she has the responsibility of bringing up a society. Even though the ratio of men to women in leadership is still low, most women have gone to school and ready to take up leadership positions. There is need for them to be encouraged and even supported to not only go for the top positions but also know how well they can retain them. The biggest challenge that the women are still facing is to convince the men that they have the capacity to handle leadership positions despite the challenges they are faced with.
Grimshaw, Patricia. Women's suffrage in New Zealand. Waikato Art Museum, 1975.
Harrison, Brian. Separate spheres: the opposition to women's suffrage in Britain. Vol. 20. Routledge, 2012.
Liddington, Jill, and Jill Norris. One hand tied behind us: the rise of the women's suffrage movement. London: Virago, 1978.