Civil rights are what citizens in a democratic country are entitled to and they include rights such as the right to vote, right to equal treatment and opportunities, the right to life and the right to protection from any harm or violence. Civil rights are designed to guarantee the freedom of a country’s citizens, allowing them to speak, think and act without any fear of reprisals.
It is the government’s duty and responsibility to create an effective legal framework that will see these rights being enjoyed by every citizen (Paterson et al. 5).
The movement of civil rights in the United States was founded with the main aim of ensuring that the necessary legislation was formulated that would enable American citizens enjoy the civil rights. Past literature that focused on the civil rights movement has shown that women had multiple roles in the movement, the same as their male counterparts. Majority of the women involved in this movement were of black origin while the rest formed part of the minority groups in America (Crawford et al. xviii).
These women were fighting for their freedom from slavery and also from being colonized by the whites in a country that was believed to have exercised freedom during a period of instability around the world .A conference for women involved in the civil rights movement were convened in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 1945 to 1965. The conference brought together women activists and scholars who were fighting for the equal rights of women in America.
The main objective of the conference was to acknowledge individuals and groups of women who had actively protested and campaigned for reforms in the civil rights. These women were united with the main purpose of gaining the pursuit of happiness that was included in the Declaration of Independence (Crawford et al. xvii).
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was seen to be a first step towards creating a more liberal and democratic America. The pursuit of happiness is an important part of the Civil Rights Act that stipulates American citizens have the right to pursue lawful business in a manner that is not inconsistent and disruptive to the equality rights of other American citizens. The pursuit of happiness is meant to increase a citizen’s prosperity and enjoyment in their life or business endeavors (Licht 98).
The practice of pursuit of happiness is basically the pursuit of property even though property is deemed to be less valuable than the freedom or life of an individual citizen. Individuals view having property as having security which allows them to be free from any interference by the government or other people. The pursuit of happiness stipulates that having secure property is having secure liberty which is viewed to be a sign of security (Licht 98).
The pursuit of happiness for women today is viewed as an important right in America as more women today are fighting to be empowered and gain equality in all aspects of their lives. Women everywhere in America be they in a minority group are seeking the right to feel secure and go about their daily lives without the fear of being attacked or having their right to liberty and freedom being infringed upon.
Crawford, Vicki. Jacqueline, Rouse and Barbara Woods (Eds). Women in civil rights movement: trailblazers and torchbearers, 1941-1965, Bloomington, USA:
Indiana University Press, P.xviii, 1990, Licht, Robert. Old rights and new. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute. P.98. 1993
Paterson, D., Richard Griffiths and Susan Willoughby. Civil rights in the USA, 1863-1980. Oxford, London: Heinemann Educational Publishers. P. 5, 2001