Women in Society
Prior to the passing of the 19th amendment, many women in American society were largely regarded as property and child bearers. After women were given the right to vote, it is sometimes assumed that all other injustices vanished and women became equal to men. It has been more than 100 years since women received the right to vote, however there is still much progress to make in the coexistence of men and women in society today. Movements like #MeToo and Third Wave Feminism suggest gender equality is not as established as we may think. What degree of value does American society actually place on women in this day and age?
Background Information:Questions from this guide are also featured on our Let’s Talk About Women conversational buffet of questions. You can also watch a recorded conversation using that PDF resource on our LRC Live page.Additional guides you may be interested in include Women and their Bodies, Women, Leadership, and Power, and Women and Political Leadership.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Women in Society (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- To what extent do you believe women are given the same rights, opportunities and privileges as men? What does this look like?
- What personal experiences, if any, do you have with gender inequality?
- What changes would you like to see in this country as it pertains to how women are regarded?
- What does the feminist movement mean to you? How has it affected you?
- What does an ideal society look like to you in the realm of sex/gender relations? How can you and/or your community contribute to making that a reality?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?