Women's history— charting the rights of all

'I am woman, hear me roar!" —so said the pop song of the 1970s. And many women did roar, as the women's rights movement in the United States became more vocal at that time. Today this movement pushes forward, more slowly, perhaps because of the general societal progress toward balance and justice. Many other countries have taken up the cause of women's rights, and the passage of time has made the idea familiar, to the extent that people today react with genuine disbelief when they learn that there are still societies where women are denied rights to education, professional working careers, voting, property ownership, elected office.

Before women in the United States gained suffrage in 1920, they had other, closer-to-the-heart rights to win—even the right of a married woman to have custody of her own children, or even her clothes. Imagine the spiritual stamina necessary for Mary Baker Eddy, a woman of the 19th century, to found a religion, a church, a system of spiritual healing, a publishing company, and this magazine.

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March 1, 2004
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