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Equal Rights For Women By Shirley Chisholm
Transcript of Equal Rights For Women By Shirley Chisholm
How Chisholm takes her stand
Considering that there are about 3 1/2 million more women in the United States than men, this situation is outrageous.
Developing an Argument
is that women are unfairly treated unequally in society and the workforce, but that the Equal Rights Amendment will help alleviate those present issues.
To successfully develop such a strong and powerful message, the author utilizes a number of useful persuasive messages.
Arguments and Counterarguments
- The way the author expands upon and then defeats her opposers' arguments adds to the strength of Chisholm's speech.
- Repeatedly, Chisholm supports her argument with solid statistics. Her statistics include ratios of women in the workforce compared to men, and numbers of women in the total national population. The strong logos statistics prove Chisholm's point unarguably, and build up a strong factual basis for her speech.
- The author's background adds to the accountability and validity of the argument. Her history as a female, African-American Congresswoman, and a daughter of immigrants, makes her a reliable source for readers to believe in and support.
May 21, 1969
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Shirley Chisholm Speaks out
On May 21, Shirley Chisholm gave a speech to the US House of Representatives on the topic of Women's rights and equality. Chisholm focused her points around education and the ability of hard work to overcome her "double handicap" by being both African American and a woman.
Her perspective is reflective of her history, which includes being the first African American woman to join the Congress, and a daughter of immigrant parents.
Chisholm states that the current view in the United States that "one sex needs protection more than the other is a male supremacist myth as ridiculous and unworthy of respect as the white supremacist myths that society is trying to cure itself of at this time". As a result Chisholm clarifies her point that equality for all citizens regardless of race or gender is necessary in civilized society. Chisholm argues that women are as capable of men in the work force and should be granted equal treatment.
"Prejudice against blacks is becoming unacceptable although it will take years to eliminate it...Prejudice against women is still acceptable"
Chisholm uses the parallel structure of the sentences and their similar wording to show her resentful tone towards the reluctance of society to create female equality
"Equal Rights For Women" By Shirley Chisholm
Congresswoman voices opinion on equality for women
for orating this speech was to present an argument for equal women's rights and provide support for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. By speaking in front of Congress, Chisholm acted as an agent of social change by publicizing the civil rights movement.
-Shirley Chisholm 1969
Erotema: Rhetorical Question
"Why is it acceptable for women to be secretaries, librarians, and teachers, but totally unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, and Members of Congress?"
This rhetorical question serves to hold the public accountable for their neglect to unfair gender stereotypes.
"As for the marriage laws, they are due for a sweeping reform, and an excellent beginning would be to wipe the existing ones off the books."
Chisholm uses a metaphor to illustrate the drastic reforms that need to take place in order for women to obtain the equality they deserve.
"The unspoken assumption is that women are different. They do not have executive ability orderly minds, stability, leadership skills, and they are too emotional"
Chisholm's use of irony enforces her claim that women truly are capable of everything that men are.
Confidently Sarcastic and Factual
Chisholm speaks loudly, and presents her information in a matter of fact way that suggests that she is confident, calm and passionate.
"[women] do not have executive ability orderly minds, stability, leadership skills, and they are too emotional" -Sarcasm, to show the outrageous of the claims made in opposition to equal rights
"2 percent of the managerial positions" "3 1/2 million more women in the United States than men" -Factual, supported by statistical logos
"Considering that there are about 3 1/2 million more women in the United States than men, this situation is outrageous"
Chisholm chooses to isolate this sentence in its own single paragraph in order to call to attention the severity of her argument and what she is fighting for. The isolation of this sentence demonstrates Chisholm's view that immediate change by women and for women is possible
Developing and Argument
- "Let me note and try to refute two of the commonest arguments that are offered against this amendment. One is that women are already protected under the law and do not need legislation. Existing laws are not adequate to secure equal rights for women. Sufficient proof of this is the concentration of women in lower paying, menial, unrewarding jobs and their incredible scarcity in the upper level jobs."
- "As a black person, I am no stranger to race prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black."
- "More than half of the population of the United States is female. But women occupy only 2 percent of the managerial positions. They have not even reached the level of tokenism yet No women sit on the AFL-CIO council or Supreme Court There have been only two women who have held Cabinet rank, and at present there are none"
"Why is it acceptable for women to be secretaries, librarians, and teachers, but totally unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, and Members of Congress"
Chisholm uses this antithesis to draw attention to the double standard, set by the jobs applicable to males. It demonstrates her belief that women are still considered to be capable little more than domestic based work.
Additional Argument Support
Purposes of Different Sections
Setting the Mood
Contextualizing the Speech
to support her argument that women are not equal in the workforce with words like "minority" "different" "inferior" and "prejudice".
Through the use of
, Chisholm is able to argue the urgency of the equal rights amendment. She states that she "wishes to introduce
a proposal that has been before every Congress for the
last 40 years
sooner or later
must become a part of the basic law of the land."
The last quarter of the speech introduces a solution to the problems presented in the previous section. The solution she proposes is the Equal Rights Amendment, which she especially supports and emphasizes in this section of the speech.
"I wish to introduce today...the equal rights amendment"
In the first three quarters of the speech, Chisholm focuses on the problems that exist in the current state of social iniquities. In response, she uses logos, pathos, ethos, and various schemes to successfully counter the opponents' arguments.
"I am no stranger to race prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black"
Shirley Chisholm gave her speech at the House of Representatives in 1969. This choice in such a highly-reputed location proved that Chisholm was as professional and respectable as she was arguing in her speech.
By wearing such professional attire, Chisholm holds herself to the standard of professionalism that she advocates her fellow females to display, despite the prejudices set my the current society.