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Taxation Postcard from the Ann Lewis Collection

This Women’s Equality Day, Let’s Celebrate the Women Who Got Us Here

by Tara Metal

As we approach yet another election year, American voters may be drawing nearer to an enormous landmark: electing a woman president. With Hillary Rodham Clinton polling as the top Democratic contender, it’s never felt more possible.

Ernestine Rose

An early feminist who inspired Susan B. Anthony, Ernestine Rose was particularly remarkable for her insistence that women’s rights and slave emancipation needed to be approached as one issue: the freedom of all people.

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addresses annual Thomas Paine dinner

January 29, 1848

For more than 20 years, Ernestine Rose, born in Poland in 1810, worked as a leading pro-suffrage, anti-slavery orator in the United States.

Ernestine Rose

Ernestine Rose’s extemporaneous speeches on religious freedom, public education, abolition, and women’s rights earned her the title “Queen of the Platform.”

Law in the United States

The situation of the Jewish community in the United States is shaped fundamentally by the condition of political equality. This legal status is shared with all other citizens and is assumed as an essential baseline. Where there are violations of that status—when an individual otherwise of full legal capacity is treated as a member of a subordinated racial or religious group, and when group membership defines rights and duties—we discuss the problem under the heading “discrimination.”

Feminism in the United States

Jewish women have played a significant role in all aspects of the American feminist movement.

Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs

The Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women’s Clubs (ELF), a progressive women’s group, grew out of the Emma Lazarus Division, founded in 1944 by the Women’s Division of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order (IWO). Formed to provide relief to wartime victims, but especially to combat antisemitism and racism and to nurture positive Jewish identification through a broad program of Jewish education and women’s rights, the Emma Lazarus Division attracted a membership of leftist, largely Yiddish-speaking women, many of the immigrant generation. Among its founders was Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the young woman who had called for the general strike of garment workers that sparked the 1909 Uprising Of The 20,000. Shavelson and other organizers believed that, because of the Holocaust, thousands of women had become “newly aware of themselves as Jewish women,” but they urgently needed “history, self-knowledge as Jews, and cultural products” that could sustain the fight against fascism. In its early years, the division offered fellowships for fiction and history on Jewish themes. It also supported a home for French war orphans and a day nursery in Israel, and championed a broad range of women’s issues.

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