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Essay about women’s emancipation and short biography about Maya Angelou ©
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Emilie-Wüstenfeld Gymnasium Hamburg
2012, 1-

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Essay about women’s emancipation from Melina Niaré


If you don't like something, change it.
If you can't change it, change your attitude.
Don't complain.
~ Maya Angelou ~


But how has the emancipation movement changed that she can claim such a thoughtless thing today? In my opinion, there are three different classification areas of the emancipation of women. This is important to say because the division of the three areas influenced the development of women’s emancipation. The first classification area is the woman in the society. In the second are the woman and her profession. The constitution says that women and men have to be equal. I think for this it is important to say that the girls have already surpassed the men in the education. The last classification area is the woman and the family. By now the legal equality of women and men in marriage has been fixed in several law steps. A hundred years ago the women dreamed of this.

I write about the development of women emancipation until the 12th and 13th century until now to come closer to the history and for the understanding. There were three different emancipation movements which are significant and still on our mind. The first was between the 12th and 13th century. The movement is still famous with the name Beginen-movement. But it didn’t have many followers or supporters-they didn’t question the church and had really religious views on the world. The second movement was after the French revolution at the beginning of the 19th century. The movement had at only male supporters and followers at first. They found fast female supporters who deployed themselves for freedom and equality. The movement was named Suffragetten (like the name says-they deployed for the suffrage) It was the first movement which tried to remove themselves from the church. The third and last big and famous emancipation movement was after the Second World War. It was a result out of the industrialization and the consequences.  

The women triggered a revolution in which they fight for their rights. They were fighting for: civil rights, suffrage, rights to education, right to private property, right for employment work, for equality between men and women, equitable distribution role, social equality, strive for education, they want to be note like a Like-minded and not like a typical housewife and they wanted to have self-regulation about their bodies and their mind. Sounds like a lot but it is only human. The first women movements were in America, England and France. As recently as the Weimarer Verfassung had the power in Germany, the movements came there. Important time marks were 1940 and 1960. 1940 is famous for the Résistance which began at this time mark. 1960 is popular for the worldwide student riots. The first woman who does something big in Germany was Louise Otto-Peters. Another woman that caused a stir 1949 was Elisabeth Selbert. And not to forget Alice Schwarzer who is one of the best known representatives of the German women's movement is. She gets on as a feminist and is a founder and publisher of the women's service magazine Emma. In other countries women like Betty Friedans and Mary Wollstenecraft support many feminists and women with the book „the female Mystique” and with a pleading what the rights of the women contained. And not to forget Maya Angelou, who support and affect women worldwide with sentences like “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” Many women and also men support the equal rights meanwhile but the earth is still far away of complete equality.

Today, the women still must prove much more than the men. The women are put into a certain drawer much once in a while. As a known example: if a woman is fair-haired, she is stupid. Many men and unfortunately also women think so about her like-minded and even if it sounds not taking seriously.

But it is much more serious in the eastern part of the world: Asia. There exist great prejudices in large portions of Asia opposite little girls today certainly, too. Abortion of female fetuses and the neglect of female babies are the result of it. Asian women suffer excessively from the cruel business with sex, the woman trade, a modern manner of the slavery. Deeply rooted views restricted the life of a woman to having a baby and other female duties. Large portions of the female oppression nevertheless cannot be explained by poverty but by general principles: Values, convictions, habits and traditions which are passed on by generation to generation and stress is given by persuasion, group pressure and force. We can only following the motto: Against the oppression-for the equal rights. How John Stuart Mill also wanted to say with a statement of his book, the bondage of the woman: “No slave is a slave to the same lengths, and in so full a sense of the word, as a wife is.”


Biography about Maya Angelou


Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman of our time. Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, best-selling author and civil rights activist. She is named as a powerful creative genius-and not without reasons. This is her story.

Dr. Maya Angelou was born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination. But she also absorbed values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager Maya Angelou won with her passion for art, dance and drama a scholarship. In the age of fourteen she dropped out of school to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school. Maya Angelou became her first son a few weeks after graduation. As a single mother she supported her son with part-time jobs but her ardor for dance, performance and poetry took the upper hand soon. In the 50’ she toured Europe studied and in 57 she recorded her first album. Afterwards she moved to New York and lives there for 2 years. Then she moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. After one Year she went to Ghana. There she wrote for The Ghanaian Times and worked as a feature editor for the African review. During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King's assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated. Thereafter Maya Angelou worked on the book “In Know Why The Caged Birds Sing“, which is published in 1970, with the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin. She has more than thirty bestselling titles. Her script, for the film Georgia, was the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation. In the age of sixty-eight, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delt. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

Maya Angelou won numerous prices like three Grammys. She had the great honor to read her poem "On the Pulse of the Morning" on President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. This was broadcast all around the world. Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Dr. Maya Angelou does not only touch and inspire the human, she tries also to opening our thoughts and minds to steer the world fundamentally.

                                                 “…Live your life…”

                                   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSY7PokqMXk (8.50 min)


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

Maya Angelou



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