Social movements are collective activities that are aimed at bringing about or creating resistance to primary changes in a particular society or a group. Gender determines the degree of participation of social movements. Men and women experience the participation of some social movements differently, for instance the way men and women view liberation struggles in social movement groups evidence variations across the different gender. In addition, the women’s mobilization for change movement reflects the roles of women as circumscribed which consequently determine the outcomes of a social movement as well as the activities involved (Kuumba, 2001)
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The first movement is the Women’s anti-pass campaign that was formed in the year 1946 in an attempt to improve the African Americans status. This movement was planned to boycott and protest against the Montgomery bus lines that had increased the fares leading to inhumane treatment of the customers who were African American in origin. Rosa Park instigated the movement when she refused to relinquish her seat in the favour of a white man. After her resistance, the Montgomery bus boycott followed enlisting the support of other institutions that aided in the coordination of the boycott, an association by the name Montgomery Improvement Association was formed. The organization was dominated by men in its executive board but women played a major role in pushing for the support of the boycott and also raised finances to facilitate the boycott. The movement saw a 380 days boycott conducted by both male and females of African origin through defiance whereby they used different means of transport to their destinations.
This movement led to the integration of seating in the bus system and propelled civil rights movement to a higher level where social justice was embraced globally. This movement changed greatly the public opinion on women since the campaign was initiated by the resistance of a women to surrender has seat for a white man bringing about far reaching changes in the social justice system. In today’s society, the movement can be seen as a reinforcement and motivation of driving change in the society through women to ensure people are treated equally without discrimination that has existed throughout history against race, colour, gender among other areas (Evans, 1979).
Secondly, the civil rights and the anti-apartheid movements in South Africa in the 1950’s are examples of movements that greatly affected the public opinion regarding gender issues (Kuumba, 2001). These social movements involved levels of gender combination and parallelism though they were not entirely gender independent, the females and males movements were autonomous of each other and saw men and women performing different roles. The main concern of these movements was to change oppressive systems in terms of race and ethnicity.
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Thirdly, there is the modern women’s movement which emerged in the late 1960’s. This social movement focused on the establishment of a woman’s right to procure an abortion. This focus was initiated by the supreme court ruling in Roe v. Wade whereby according to the constitution a woman’s right to an abortion was protected under the constitution especially during the first and second trimesters (Hill, 2002). The ruling in this case awakened the pro-life forces whereby the issue of abortion made pro-life movements shape the public policy and shifting its focus in the political arena, making the issue of abortion a major political concern. Such a movement on abortion issue is a political concern in many nations and gender especially women and the pro-life social movements affect how governments function. This movements still affect the society today with the public holding different opinions in the struggle for democracy and in an effort to protect, uphold and sustain human rights while at the same time enlightening the public.
In conclusion, social movements emphasizes on collective action to drive their point, they also involve the use of nonconventional methods that at times may feature dramatic episodes. Gender roles in social movements not only determine the course of action but also the results of s social movement. Societal transformations desired by a social movement can be initiated using gender to recreate the social movement’s theory in order to capture the dynamics of the different campaigns and make them derive their intended results.
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