The word suffrage derives from the Latin word meaning vote or judgment. The movement, known as the Suffragettes, had started much earlier, in the Nineteenth Century, but it gained more popularity in the 20th century. Unfortunately, many of their members were publicly ridiculed and made fun of, especially due to their outspoken, bold claims (at least by society’s standards at the time) that women and men were to be treated equally before the law.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Also, the American Constitution has also made it clear that any behavior manifesting bias or prejudice based on race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status is not be tolerated in a courthouse. In light of these statements, we can easily deduct that women were merely appealing to common sense rather than making “bold claims”.
Let us remember that only a few years ago, women didn’t have any rights recognized by a legal authority. In the 19th century, men reached legal majority at the age of 21 and they could then make their own decisions about their properties, body, economic and material possessions, exercise the right of suffrage etc. However, women had none of these rights, not even after they reached legal age. For all intents and purposes, women were minors for the remainder of their lives. (being a minor means being smaller, which implies that the person is not allowed to sign any legal contracts or documents or even vote in democratic elections etc.) For example, married women had no rights of property. Virtually, they were owned by their fathers and treated like personal possessions, bargained with etc. until married off. The husband would then be in charge and own everything material she possessed.