Women gained the right to vote more than a century ago. Nevertheless, they still find themselves fighting against prejudice, inequality and sexism. To succeed in this battle, women need men’s support more than ever. Such campaigns like UN Women’s HeForHer underline the importance of men’s contribution in this endeavour.
The suffragettes, in their struggle to gain women rights, had also the support of feminist men who believed in gender equality and did everything in their power to aid them. Here are three of the men who played an important role during the suffragette movement.
Frederick Douglass for Women Rights
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an American statesman, reformer, abolitionist and writer. He escaped from slavery and fought for the abolitionist movement in New York and Massachusetts. He was also the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States without his approval. Douglass was very active in the battle for women’s rights. He was the only African American to take part in the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. During the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton proposed to the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women’s suffrage. Douglass was one of the few who supported it claiming that he wouldn’t vote as a black man if the same right was not granted to women as well.
James Mott (1788-1868) was a Quaker leader, businessman and educator. Moreover, he fought for women’s rights alongside his wife, Lucretia Coffin Mott. She was a student at Nine Partners School in Poughkeepsie, NY, where James Mott worked as a teacher. Besides being an active member of the anti-slavery movement, he took part in the conventions and events in which his wife was involved. The married couple helped plan and host the First Women’s Rights Convention, which took place in the Seneca Falls, NY on July 19th and 20th in 1848. Lucretia Coffin Mott was a speaker at the convention, while James Mott chaired the meeting. In this way Mott became the first men to chair such kind of convention – as the following ones were chaired by women.
Henry Blackwell (1825-1909) was born in England. However, he and his family emigrated to the United States when he was ten. He fought for social and economic reforms. A founder of the American Woman Suffrage Association, from 1870 on he started publishing Woman’s Journal. On this occasion he had the opportunity to work together with his wife Lucy Stone.
The love story between the two spouses is very romantic and important. Lucy Stone – an abolitionist, suffragist and an advocate for women rights – did not want to marry him since the she found that marriage would mean surrendering her rights as an independent woman and stopping her activity as a fighter for black and women’s rights. After a long courtship, she agreed to marry him. However, in their vows Henry Blackwell openly give up on the unfair privileges that the law conferred him since he was a man. Moreover, they refused to pledge obedience to each other and to accept the women oppressing laws of marriage.