Famous Organizations of Women Rights

There is a great degree of difference between the founding woman's rights organizations and contemporary organizations. All are significant, though. The first major organization was formed in 1866. The American Equal Rights Association was established to further the rights of African Americans and women. However, it split in 1869 over the issue of the fifteenth amendment.

In May, 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association was formed. It was lead by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It split from the American Equal Rights Association because they did not agree with black men getting the right to vote without black and white women also getting the same right. They focused on gaining support by developing groups in each state.

In November of 1869, many of the remaining members of the American Equal Rights Association formed the American Woman Suffrage Association. This group, lead by Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, supported the fifteenth amendment. They feared that if they added women to the amendment, giving them the right to vote along with African American men, that the bill would not have enough support to pass.

In 1880, long after the fifteenth amendment passed, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Equal Rights Association came back together to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. A federal amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed in 1920. The association was then transformed into the League of Women Voters. The League is still around today, with local chapters in every state. The non-partisan group has 150,000 members, but is not considered to be one of the major players in woman's rights.

The National Organization of Women is the largest woman's rights group in the United States. It currently boasts over 500,000 members. It was founded in 1966 when a small group met to push the limits of woman's rights further. Their first president was Betty
Friedan, author of "The Feminine Mystique." They sought to have equal rights for women in every area of life. As many of their original goals have been met, they have spread out into other areas. They now rally support for illegal aliens and raise awareness for the genocide in Darfur.

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) was founded in 1969, shortly after the National Organization of Women. It had the specific goal of making abortion legal. In 1973, the Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, decided that within the first three months of pregnancy, abortion was a private matter. After that decision, NARAL worked to expand abortion rights. They now work to suppress any restrictions on abortion, whether they are state or federal laws. They also work to make sure that abortions are available in even the most remote areas of the country.

EMILY's List is another pro choice organization working to further woman's reproductive rights. The political action committee was founded in 1984 by Ellen Malcolm. EMILY stands for "Early Money Is Like Yeast," meaning that early money helps to raise the dough for a candidate. EMILY's List raises money, awareness and support for pro-choice female candidates.

From the American Equal Rights Association to EMILY's List, woman's rights have come a long way. For a long time, women were fighting for the most basic right to vote. Now, they are hammering out the details of their reproductive rights. Some aspects of woman's rights are just as controversial now as when the American Equal Rights Association was first formed.