Diverse social movement, largely based in the U.S., seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, personal lives, and politics. It is recognized as the “second wave” of the larger feminist movement. While first-wave feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on women's legal rights, such as the right to vote, the second-wave feminism of the “women's movement” peaked in the 1960s and '70s and touched on every area of women's experience—including family, sexuality, and work. A variety of U.S. women's groups, including the National Organization for Women, sought to overturn laws that enforced discrimination in matters such as contract and property rights and employment and pay. The movement also sought to broaden women's self-awareness and challenge traditional stereotypes of women as passive, dependent, or irrational. An effort in the 1970s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment failed, but its aims had been largely achieved by other means by the end of the 20th century.
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Hale was a founder of the Lucy Stone League, an organization whose motto was "My name is the symbol for my identity and must not be lost." A biographer termed Hale "nearly fanatical" about women’s rights, who attacked "head-on and without humor, except for mordant satire." Hale's cause led her to fight for women to be able to legally preserve their maiden name after marriage. She challenged in the courts any government edict that would not recognize a married woman by the name she chose to use.
In 1918 Hale gave birth to her only child, Heywood Hale Broun, in New York City.
In May 1921 Hale was believed to be the first married woman to be issued a real estate deed in her own name, for an apartment house on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Not long afterward, she was chosen to be president of the Lucy Stone League. Broun was among the men present, and supported his wife in her endeavors. Other Lucy Stoners were Jane Grant, wife of Harold Ross, the founder of The New Yorker, and Beatrice Kaufman, wife of playwright George S. Kaufman.
In August 1927, Hale took a leading role in protesting the executions of anarchists and accused murderers Sacco and Vanzetti. She traveled to Boston as part of the defense committee, along with Dorothy Parker and John Dos Passos. The men were put to death over their fierce protests. The campaign had a galvanizing effect on her, leading her to fight against capital punishment.
Hale and Broun were quietly divorced in Mexico, in November 1933, although the two remained close and continued to reside on the same property in Connecticut.
Ten months later, in September 1934, Hale came down with an intestinal fever at her home in Stamford. Broun rushed his former wife to Doctor's Hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but it was too late. She died on September 18 at age 47.