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The Second Wave of the Women's Rights Movement: Different Women, Different Missions

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Pomrening, Dawn
Turner, Patricia R.; St. Germaine, Richard D.
Jul 17, 2009
Women's rights--United States--History; Feminism--Wisconsin--History; Feminism--United States--History; Feminists--United States--Political activities; Feminists--United States--Political and social views; Indian women--Wisconsin--Political activities; Indian women--Wisconsin--Political and social views; Social movements--Comparative studies
Many people believe that all women of various ethnic backgrounds in the United States involved in the Women's Rights Movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s were fighting for the same issues but this may not be true. This paper compares the mainstream women's rights movement and the feminist movement of Wisconsin Native American women during this era. A comparison of Ms. Magazine articles of the early 1970s and Wisconsin Tribal Women's News: Najinakwe demonstrates that there was a significant difference in each group's mission even though their goals were similar. Throughout history, women of different cultural backgrounds have had accessibility to different degrees of "equality." This paper argues that while there was a feminist movement within the Native American community, their mission was explicitly for the betterment of women involved as well as their communities. Throughout history Native American women have had a greater sense of equality within their communities or they have not seen their work as beneath that of the men of their society. This was something the women of the mainstream movement did feel. They thought that their work and gender were under-appreciated in American society. The Native American women argued that their work as mother and nurturer gave them power and was seen in their society as the most power a woman could have, the power of reproduction. The middle class white woman saw their ability to reproduce as their yoke of burden. They loved their children but thought they could do more in the world outside of their homes and families.
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