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Women's Rights Posters tell a Story

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Posters over the decades tell the story of women's rights.

Women have been fighting for their right to have a voice but their voice was not always heard. Women's rights posters tell a story about what the women were fighting for at the time. Today, our lives are different because the women who came before us wouldn't stay silent. They wanted a better world for their daughters so they went out and fought for it.

I wonder if today's world is what they envisioned.

I'm not one for protests or activism. I see protests as a waste of time and activists as angry people who refuse to listen and find real solutions. But if it wasn't for women who were willing to protest, put themselves in danger, be publicly shamed and angry enough to make a stand, I wouldn't be writing this right now. I am thankful for their efforts and sacrifices.

In today's world, I believe in a dialogue focused on realistic solutions and stories to help us see possibilities and pitfalls. That is why here at MarketAPeel, we have the Story of Women Discussion to talk about our stories, to find commonality, connection, community, and learn how to tell our stories from a place of power instead of victimhood. Join us and learn how to be a hero of your story by changing your narrative so people will listen and we can move forward.

Before the internet if you wanted a poster, you went to a graphic artist who would create a piece of advertising artwork for you.

We lost something when we switched to computer generated graphic art for our media messages. Artists lost a paycheque and as we moved to social media with stock images and Canva - The Advertising Poster Art Form is becoming history replaced by mass market mediocrity.

Enjoy these women's rights posters and the story they tell you about what women fought for in their time in history.

If you are looking for women's right's poster ideas - you will find lots on this page.

What you will find in this article:

Suffragette Posters

In 1910 Marion Phillips, who became Labour MP for Sunderland in 1929, sent Cambridge University Library a parcel of women's rights posters used during the suffragette movement in Britain. The package was discovered in its original wrapping in 2016 - The men running the library in 1910 didn't open it up - but at least they kept it.

Here is a couple of the posters found in the bundle. They show how far women have come in just over 100 years. We have come a long way in 100 years

Women's right to Vote - Suffragette Movement Poster

This poster shows women as educated and imprisoned with the criminals and mentally ill, whom also have it better than they did back them - Thanks to women. In Canada, Agnes MacPhail an MP in 1923, led prison reform. Without women, would there have been change?

Women did work in the 1920s, "1 in 5, were earning salaries, typically as clerks, waitresses, teachers, and telephone operators, laboring amid attitudes that women should not work outside the home if their husbands were employed and that working women were taking jobs away from men who needed them more." Still, if women got married they could be let go or at the least their employers expected them to quit. (1)

In the 20s, there were a few women who were doctors, lawyers, and even judges, (2) (3) however, most professional single women of the time were teachers, nurses, journalists, and small business owners. The uneducated women worked in factories, food industry, retail, as servants, and labourers. (1)

Women could be educated and have a profession, they just couldn't vote.

Suffragette poster calling for women's rights

As you can see in the second poster, those with power didn't care about the plight of women. The right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing and women were caught in the gap with no recourse for both them and their children.

Home children, orphans and those with parents too poor to care for them, were sent alone to Canada to work on farms. They were not given an education and many were abused by the farmers who believed they had acquired legalized slave labour.

If woman had a vote during this time, do you think poor children would have been seen as cheap labour?

The Anti Suffragette Posters

Men at the time did not take the idea of women's rights lightly, or did they? This anti-women's rights poster uses humour to paint women who were fighting for woman's rights as unhappy spinsters who hate men because they couldn't find a man to love them.

Anti-suffragette poster

Most of the anti-women's rights posters tell a story of fear and shame. Many ad men throughout the 20th Century used shame and fear as a way of telling women what to want, what to do, and what to buy. Be apart of the discussion and join us at the Story of Women Discussions.

Anti-Women's Rights Movement Poster

Posters told the story that suffragettes were overbearing women, ugly women, single women, and those who were married were cowards. Calling a man a coward, especially at that time, was a huge insult - like calling a woman a Cu.. or Bi.... It was an attack on his identity as a man and his character as a person.

As you know in western countries, women won out and got the vote, but that didn't mean we were done fighting for equality... Women had just gotten started.

Story Women of the 21st Century thats life ebook

The Most Famous Women's Rights Poster

The Story behind Rosie the Riveter the Women's Rights Poster
Click Image to Purchase Rosie The Riveter

To purchase the poster - Click Image

If you haven't seen this poster, where have you been hiding?

This poster, created during World War 2, to represent women pulling up their sleeves and helping out was NOT famous at the time of its printing. I found the story on the History Channel Website and was surprised to discover the following:

"The poster in question was originally produced in 1943 by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and displayed in its factories to encourage more women to join the wartime labor force. Created by the artist J. Howard Miller, it featured a woman in a red-and-white polka-dot headscarf and blue shirt, flexing her bicep beneath the phrase “We Can Do It!”

Although it’s ubiquitous now, the poster was only displayed by Westinghouse for a period of two weeks in February 1943, and then replaced by another one in a series of at least 40 other promotional images, few of which included women. “The idea that we have now that she was famous and everywhere during the war—not even close to true,” says Kimble."

So barely anyone saw this image during WW2... So how did it become so famous?

Further into the article I learned:

"But in the 1980s, Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster resurfaced with a bang, and was widely reprinted on T-shirts, mugs, pins and many other products. Kimble believes this resurgence was due to a combination of factors, including Reagan-era budget cuts, which led the National Archives to license the image to sell souvenirs and raise money; the 40th anniversary of World War II; and the continuing push for women’s rights.

Adopted as a feminist symbol of strength and an icon of American wartime resilience, the woman in the poster was retroactively identified as Rosie the Riveter, too, and quickly became the most widely recognisable “Rosie.”

The name Rosie came from a Norman Rockwell painting and magazine cover of a WW2 working woman, which was not as powerful as the above image.

Men at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation just weren't ready to let Rosie out into the world. However, the world was more than ready for her by the time the 1980s came round.

I couldn't find any women's rights posters for 1950s & 60s. No surprise there considering the Mad Men were ruling Madison Avenue and the advertisements of the day told the story of women as - stay home, take care of your man, be pretty, don't say much.

The See Red Women's Workshop Posters

In 1974, a group of London artists got together and lit a fire under the woman's rights movement. More than 40 women worked to raise the social consciousness of western society. They designed graphic posters railing against the division of labor, and educated youth groups about sexual and reproductive health. There is even a whole book about their efforts and the women's rights posters they created.

Women's Rights Poster - See Red Women's Workshop
© See Red Women’s Workshop.

They had their own style!! Patriarchal Attitudes had no place in their lives. When you look at this poster, you can see how they felt limited, used, and unappreciated by men, society, and the media. I can see a reaction to the media and advertising industry, which started to sexualise women in the 60s. I wonder what these women think of the ads we have now a days. Sexualisation is off the charts compared to the 1970s.

If I wanted to know about being a woman in the 1970s and all I had to tell me the story was this poster, I'd think women were oppressed with no rights or voice. Were you a woman in the 70s? What do you remember about being a woman at that time? Join us for the Story of Women discussion about what we lost, what we gained, and what we wish for tomorrow.

Women's rights movement protest poster
Bite the Hand (1978). © See Red Women’s Workshop.

In the 70s there was new legislation to make women more equal in the workforce and classroom, however in reality there were serious obstacles to equality. Women in 1978 were fighting for real equality by demanding better daycare, social services, abortion rights, and jobs. This was the start of the latch key generation, kids who took care of themselves while their parents were at work because there wasn't childcare options for before and after school.

We have come a long way to ensure programs for childcare so mothers can work, but is it enough? Or do we need a better solution for families?

Women's Rights Poster of the 1980s

As mentioned above, Rosie the Riveter was one of the main posters for the feminist movement in the 1980s. The 80s were my school years I started the 80s at 7 years old and left them at 17. I can attest there was a lot changing when it came to the roles of men and women in the home and girls started pushing back when their brothers were considered better due to their genders. We were brought up being told we could have it all, a career, a family, a husband, and a home... Someone forgot to tell us how to do it ... and this is why we are still fighting for equality. We've come a long way, but we still have to figure out what these new roles look like at both work and home. Join us to discuss these topics at the Story of Women discussions.

As today, abortion rights was the loudest battle being fought by women rights activists at the time and there was a lot of discussions around this topic when I was growing up.

This poster was created by Barbara Kruger for the March for Women's Lives Abortion-rights to protest the Supreme Court restricting access to abortion. Barbara Kruger, along with her students, put these posters up in New York City along with logistical information about the march and the Supreme Court's case.

Kids, before the internet - this is what we did to let people know we were upset about something going on in the world. Aren't you lucky that today all you need to do is take a selfie or a video of your opinion to put up into the social media garbage dump of content?

Barbara Kruger's artwork played an important role in the women's rights movement as her style was adopted around the world.

In Toronto, On Canada, women were demanding bread and roses for the eighties - they were asking for jobs and rights. Demands included full employment rights, full support for social services, ending violence against women, a safe and healthy environment, and control of our bodies. In a country known for having healthcare and social services, it sounds odd now to think of a time when women needed to demand help for our social service programs.

To learn more about Canadian Women's Rights, click the button below for a PDF download.

The Guerrilla Girls

In the mid 80s, the Guerrilla Girls organization was formed to protest against the white male establishment of the Art Industry where the US's Art museums displayed less than 5% of art by women and 85% of the nudes were female. (4) They believed this was due to the boards being mostly male and white male at that.

In 2002, they created this billboard to protest the gender gap at the Oscars by showing an anatomically correct Oscar. I think this also shows that Hollywood, media, and society put pressure on men to have an ideal body, which they struggle to achieve. We don't talk about this issue of male body image.

Is it time for a more gender neutral approach to the body issue question?

Women's Rights Poster of the 1990s... Bookmark this page and come back - I'm currently working on this... Got some ideas to share - leave a link in comments

Contemporary Women's Rights Poster Ideas

Today's women's rights posters celebrate feminists and the wisdom they gave us during their time in the trenches.

I found this one on RBG's death made in impact on the visuals being used in the woman's rights movement this year. What I like about this one is it is hand drawn instead of computer generated. In today's computer dominated world, it makes it stand out as unique, one of a kind, and interesting.

In 2018, women took up the cry, Nevertheless, she persisted, as their motto. The origins of this quote originate from an event in congress when a male representative, Mitch McConnel, tried to silence a female representative, Elizabeth Warren.

In 2022, the Supreme Court of the USA overturned Roe v Wade sending the legal issue of abortion back to the states where some passed laws restricting access to abortion or prohibiting it all together.

Along with the lack of resources for mothers and the state of their educational institutions, the US has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the Western World when it comes to Women's Rights. The next generation will need to take. up the torch, but what that will look like and what they will want for their lives is still being determined.

We are the architects of our lives and history has shown us many women who refused to stay in a box. Even without the legal right to vote, they forged a life they wanted for themselves. The story of women is still being written - join us we discuss what it means to be a women in the the 21st Century and how that will change who we are in the 22nd.

The Women's Rights Marketplace - Profiting from a cause

Women's rights posters have become a commodity. Something to sell as interior artwork and make a buck off of. Most of it looks like it was made on canva or copied from some other famous poster from the past giving it a retro look or aligning it with the person the style is known for.

Many of the contemporary posters out there are full of anger. I can understand that ... but when we are consumed by anger we are unable to have a dialogue that results in solutions. Let's talk about solutions to women's rights.

Here are women's rights posters I found for sale on Amazon - If you want to decorate your walls click to purchase.

This one has style and originality at least. Though how rich would RBG's heirs be if the people selling this type of 'ART Work' had to pay a royalty for using her photographic image.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's story is a story of women and the change we've experienced. She had it all, marriage, education, career, children, respect, and celebrity. She rose to the top of her field and struck a blow for women of younger generations who will only need to crawl over the wall she broke down. She showed us it is possible. I just wish I knew how she did it - for my daughter and my son because let's face it... the story of men has changed too.

I'm the storm quote poster
Click Image to buy

Women's Rights Posters Found on Etsy

What do. you think? Do you want to hang a woman's rights poster on your wall?

I'm not sure how many men out there are profiting from women buying posters they made because there are so many searches for women's rights posters after the Supreme Court of the USA overturned Roe v Wade.

If you want to support women, make sure you buy from a woman artist / designer who creates something original instead of someone who just copies or is passing off a Canva creation as their own design.

Can you tell the name of each of these women? There will be a test later - just kidding.

Woman's rights poster ruth bader ginsburg
Click image to buy women's rights poster

I love a good play on words, if you couldn't tell from the name of my company, podcast, blog, magazine, and photography company....

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a feminist who had it all... See above for more about this famous lady. Her death was the catalyst for pro-life advocates to take the Roe v Wade decision from 1973 back to the courthouse with an argument to have it reversed based on the jurisdiction of healthcare being at the State level not the Federal level. With the Republican majority. on the bench, it was a low risk move by the pro-life side.

It has put women's rights behind back 50 years... I know this because I was born in 73 when Roe v Wade was decided. I luckily am Canadian and though healthcare is a provincial jurisdiction, the abortion question is too hot a potato for the conservatives to take to the polls if they want to have any chance at getting power - but - never say never.

Do I believe in abortion?

Personally, I'm passed having to make that decision, but my kids aren't. I don't know what they would want but I'm here to support them in their personal decisions if they are ever faced with a pregnancy. I personally believe it is a decision between a woman and her God.

God gives us trials and tribulations to test us, mold us, and let us know what we are truly made of. God already knows what a woman will decide and he is the only one who can grant life, so he is the one who has put the life in the womb, knowing the outcome, yet giving the woman the opportunity to choose for herself and then deal with the consequences. God gave us the freedom to choose him or choose to sin - Who am I to remove that right?

Before you say it - Murders - murder and there are no laws in place to prevent them from committing the act. There are laws that dish out the consequences if it can be proven... but nothing that prevents a person from shooting, stabbing, choking, or what not, another person.

As individuals we do not know 100% for certain what we would do in a situation, until we are faced with it. We can imagine, we can dream, but unless you have been that person, in those shoes, with the same situation, you do not know what you would do until you have to. So - stop judging others and start understanding where they come from. Maybe if we started to see people where they were and started to talk about solutions instead. of rigid ultimatums, we would arrive at a better place than we are today.

Story is one way we can understand others, what they are going through, what their fears are and their weaknesses. When we identify with a character. in story, we can start to understand each other on a deeper level.

This is why the Woman's Story Discussion is so important. It is meant to help us understand by using story and in the process learn how to tell our own stories from a place of power instead of victimization. When you feel you have the power of choice, you have the confidence to move forward and be powerful in words.


Join us as we discuss the story of women using the novel, That's Life. Click here for more information about the Story of Women virtual event or click the button to register.


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