This Article highlights racially marginalized women’s struggles to substantively access rights. Suffrage was meant to acquire political rights for women, and through that mechanism, move towards greater equality between women and men in the public and private spheres. Yet, racial minority women, working class and immigrant women, among others, continued to encounter a series of political, civil, economic, cultural, and social boundaries that deprived them of access to rights. From the struggles of working-class immigrant women for economic rights, to equal pay, and better work conditions, to the struggles of Japanese American women who were interned because they were assumed to be “the enemy” of the state, the history of the twentieth century is replete with contradictions of what was achieved in the quest for rights and what was suppressed. This Article touches on some key moments in history to illustrate the struggles of racially marginalized women to build lives of human dignity—lives that are secure from bodily harm, and from severe economic, social, and political inequalities. The quest for rights—human rights that might help secure the conditions that enable people to build secure, dignified lives—remains an unfinished journey.
Bandana Purkayastha, FROM SUFFRAGE TO SUBSTANTIVE HUMAN RIGHTS: THE CONTINUING JOURNEY FOR RACIALLY MARGINALIZED WOMEN, 42 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 419 (2020), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol42/iss3/6