Browse Social Movements

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Name Description Founding year Related works
Water Curists Hydropathy was one of the most popular forms of medical care in the United States in the nineteenth century, particularly among women. Water-cure therapists rejected heroic treatments (such as bloodletting and purgi... Hydropathy was one of the most popular forms of medical care in the United States in the nineteenth century, particularly among women. Water-cure therapists rejected heroic treatments (such as bloodletting and purging to rid the body of “ill humors”) and emphasized healthy living practices: drinking plenty of water, application of cold water to the body, exposure to sunshine and fresh air, adequate physical exercise, and adoption of a simple diet and loose-fitting clothing. Show more Show less 1840 1
White Cross Society, England Founded in England in the early 1880s to help young men practice sexual abstinence. This group emerged in the United States in 1886 and they advocated a single standard of morality. Also part of the age of consent m... Founded in England in the early 1880s to help young men practice sexual abstinence. This group emerged in the United States in 1886 and they advocated a single standard of morality. Also part of the age of consent movement. Show more Show less 1886 1
Woman Suffrage Movement Between 1848, when the woman suffrage movement was launched, and 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, the movement mobilized 480 campaigns in state legislatures, 277 campaigns in state c... Between 1848, when the woman suffrage movement was launched, and 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, the movement mobilized 480 campaigns in state legislatures, 277 campaigns in state conventions, and 19 campaigns in 19 successive congresses in addition to the ratification campaign of 1919-1920. Suffrage became the major vehicle for the advancement of women in American society more generally in this period. Show more Show less 1848 110
Woman's Christian Temperance Union Founded in 1873, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the largest voluntary association in the United States. Working closely with the much-smaller woman suffrage movement, the WCTU endorsed woman... Founded in 1873, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the largest voluntary association in the United States. Working closely with the much-smaller woman suffrage movement, the WCTU endorsed woman suffrage in 1881, by which time it had become the most important vehicle for women’s participation in public life. Key to the WCTU’s prominence was Frances Willard’s leadership and her "Do Everything" policy, which enabled the Union to support a wide range of reform activities other than temperance, including prison reform, child welfare, women's employment, work among African Americans, public health, and woman suffrage. Show more Show less 1873 62
Woman's National Loyal League Under the leadership of Stanton and Anthony, the League organized women in support of the Union cause during the Civil War. Supporting first a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, the League kept up pressure... Under the leadership of Stanton and Anthony, the League organized women in support of the Union cause during the Civil War. Supporting first a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, the League kept up pressure for reform by supporting calls for black and woman suffrage. After the conclusion of the war, the group gave way to the American Equal Rights Association (see above) which promoted these causes. Show more Show less 1863 2
Woman's Peace Party Founded in January 1915, after the outbreak of World War I, the Woman's Peace Party worked to control armaments and called for a mediated settlement to the war. Members traveled to The Hague in 1915 to meet with wom... Founded in January 1915, after the outbreak of World War I, the Woman's Peace Party worked to control armaments and called for a mediated settlement to the war. Members traveled to The Hague in 1915 to meet with women peace supporters from European nations (see the document project, "How Did Women Activists Promote Peace in Their 1915 Tour of Warring European Capitals?" also on this website). At the conclusion of the war, Woman's Peace Party members traveled to an international conference in Zurich to protest the punitive stance of the Versailles Treaty toward defeated Germany. The conference led to the formation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (see below) and the Woman's Peace Party became the American Section of WILPF. Show more Show less 1915 6
Woman's Rights Convention Movement, 1848-1869 After the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, the movement for women's rights accelerated. In 1850 the first National Woman's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts and similar... After the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, the movement for women's rights accelerated. In 1850 the first National Woman's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts and similar conventions were soon held all over the United States continuing throughout the decade. At these conventions male abolitionist leaders, including Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, supported the movement while Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton, the two women considered the organizers of the Seneca Falls convention, spoke at and attended many of these subsequent meetings. Show more Show less 1848 51
Women's Action Coalition Formed in New York in 1992 as a direct-action protest group to advocate women’s rights, the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) highlighted a range of issues including sexual assault against women and women’s under... Formed in New York in 1992 as a direct-action protest group to advocate women’s rights, the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) highlighted a range of issues including sexual assault against women and women’s under-representation in the art world. WAC supporters numbered in the thousands, but internal divisions led to the group’s demise in 1995. Show more Show less 1992 2
Women's Art Movement During the 1970s at the height of the feminist movement, the Women's Art Movement began helping women artists create, exhibit, and frequently control the flow of their artwork, by utilizing alternative or cooperativ... During the 1970s at the height of the feminist movement, the Women's Art Movement began helping women artists create, exhibit, and frequently control the flow of their artwork, by utilizing alternative or cooperative spaces. Show more Show less 1970 5
Women's City Club of New York Building on innovations of women like Lillian Wald in the field of women’s and infants’ public health, the Women’s City Club of New York (WCCNY) was founded in 1915. Since its founding the WCCNY has monitored... Building on innovations of women like Lillian Wald in the field of women’s and infants’ public health, the Women’s City Club of New York (WCCNY) was founded in 1915. Since its founding the WCCNY has monitored public policy and undertaken campaigns related to child health and sweatshops. Show more Show less 1915 1
Women's Columbian Association The Women's Columbian Association protested the limited participation of African Americans in organizational committees for the planning of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. 1890 1
Women's Equity Action League Elizabeth Boyer, an Ohio attorney, founded WEAL in 1968 to improve the status of women by focusing on legal and tax inequalities, and on discrimination in education and employment. WEAL explicitly distanced itself f... Elizabeth Boyer, an Ohio attorney, founded WEAL in 1968 to improve the status of women by focusing on legal and tax inequalities, and on discrimination in education and employment. WEAL explicitly distanced itself from more "radical" feminist organizations, such as NOW, that supported abortion and used picketing and demonstrations as key political tactics. With an emphasis on the economic and educational issues affecting women, WEAL challenged discriminatory employment ads, supported the Equal Rights Amendment, and litigated against sex discrimination at universities. Show more Show less 1968 1
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) grew out of the International Congress of Women at The Hague, which brought together over 1,000 women in 1915 to work for a peaceful end to the war in... The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) grew out of the International Congress of Women at The Hague, which brought together over 1,000 women in 1915 to work for a peaceful end to the war in Europe. Women who attended this first conference and whose writings are included in this digital archive include Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Aletta Jacobs, and Chrystal Macmillan. Over the years, WILPF protested chemical and biological warfare, worked towards World Disarmament, and worked with both the League of Nations and the United Nations. Today, WILPF continues to work with the UN as an NGO as well as with national and local governments and promotes peace through non-violent means. WILPF-related materials in this digital archive include congress proceedings, correspondence between WILPF leaders, and reports about national peace and women’s movements. Show more Show less 1915 9
Women's Joint Congressional Committee Formed after the passage of the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, the Women’s Joint Congressional Congress (WJCC) coordinated the political goals of a wide variety of women’s organizatio... Formed after the passage of the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, the Women’s Joint Congressional Congress (WJCC) coordinated the political goals of a wide variety of women’s organizations. Affiliated with the League of Women Voters, the Women’s Trade Union League, the National Association of Colored Women, and other women’s organizations, the WJCC served as a lobbying clearinghouse for the political agendas of twelve million women. Their most successful effort was the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921, in which Congress first allocated funds for human health. Attacks by hyper-patriots and business interests reduced the WJCC’s effectiveness after 1925. Show more Show less 1920 3
Women's Labor Movement, 19th and 20th Centuries Working women first organized to strike and defend their interests in the cotton textile mills of New England in the 1830s and 40s. Women shoeworkers were prominent in the 1860 New England shoe strike as well. Women... Working women first organized to strike and defend their interests in the cotton textile mills of New England in the 1830s and 40s. Women shoeworkers were prominent in the 1860 New England shoe strike as well. Women’s factory employment expanded in the twentieth century and women participated in the 1909 New York City shirtwaist strike and the 1912 strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Women’s labor force participation expanded dramatically after World War II and women became increasingly active in labor unions, as exemplified by the creation of the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974. Show more Show less 1830 23
Women's Peace Association in Japan 1
Women's Peace Congress/International Congress of Women :Hague, Netherlands Initiated by the Woman’s Peace Party (U.S.), the International Congress of Women at The Hague was chaired by Jane Addams. Over 1,000 women attended the Congress to protest World War I and work toward a mediated en... Initiated by the Woman’s Peace Party (U.S.), the International Congress of Women at The Hague was chaired by Jane Addams. Over 1,000 women attended the Congress to protest World War I and work toward a mediated end to the conflict. The Congress created the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (ICWPP), which sponsored the 1919 Second International Congress of Women in Zurich and founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). WASMI includes the proceedings of the 1915 Hague and 1919 Zurich Congresses as well as related documents of those attending the meetings, including Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Aletta Jacobs, and Chrystal Macmillan. Show more Show less 1915 4
Women's Rights within the Anti-Slavery Movement Historians have traditionally dated the beginning of the women’s rights movement to the 1840 London World Anti-Slavery Convention, where Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first formulated the idea for a wom... Historians have traditionally dated the beginning of the women’s rights movement to the 1840 London World Anti-Slavery Convention, where Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first formulated the idea for a woman’s rights convention. But the connections between anti-slavery and women’s rights flourished even before this meeting through the activism of Lucretia Mott, and Angelina and Sarah Grimke, leading anti-slavery advocates. Mott’s interest in women’s rights also predated her involvement in the anti-slavery movement, as she committed herself to women’s emancipation early on in her public career as a Quaker minister and reformer. Show more Show less 1830 22
Women's Trade Union League, United Kingdom Established by social settlement reformers and working women in 1903, and active until 1955, with branches in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the WTUL promoted unions of women workers in the garmen... Established by social settlement reformers and working women in 1903, and active until 1955, with branches in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the WTUL promoted unions of women workers in the garment and other semi-skilled industries. WTUL prospered during and after the 1909-10 strike of more than 20,000 shirtwaist workers in New York City. The League's presence during the strike attracted many working women to the organization and by 1910 working women had taken over leadership of the League’s trade committees. Show more Show less 1903 10