How Did Martin Luther King Jr. Influence Women's Rights?


As I’m sure you’re well aware, we are upon the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This holiday isn’t supposed to be just another day off of work; it is a day to celebrate and honor a man who helped pave the way for human rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for African Americans in the civil rights movement and his influence continues to reach human rights groups today, including the women’s rights movement. This movement has been an ongoing struggle over the last few decades with recent attention in regards to restrictions on birth control and access to care. 

History considers the early 20th century to be the time when the women’s rights movement began, with the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote in the year 1919. However, women were still considered inferior to men in society. It wasn’t until about the 1960s and ’70s that women’s roles began to evolve. MLK Jr.’s movement took place in 1964, right in the middle of it all.

Dr. King’s civil rights marches and the political unrest that followed eventually helped African Americans achieve more social equality in America, and the women’s rights movement followed suit. Women no longer had to stay at home and take care of the family; working was an achievable goal, though women still faced some gender stereotypes of what was considered a “woman’s job.” Women began standing up, leading marches for gender equality in the workplace, in education, and in society. This uproar allowed women to compete with their male counterparts in multiple facets of society, paving the way for a future of possibilities.

Though women’s rights have come a long way, women continue to struggle for equality. Women still fight for control over the rights to make choices for their own bodies, from access to birth control to fighting sexual harassment. Dr. King continues to inspire these activists with his empowering words: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Frederick Birth Center realizes how beautifully feminine it is to bring a child into this world. We also recognize the struggles of not having control over your own pregnancy and delivery, and we will fight to provide women the right to have safe and alternative healthcare options. To learn more about how to take charge of your health during pregnancy and childbirth, please call the Frederick Birth Center today.

Mychal Pilia