Co-founder of the Society of Friends, the Quakers and called the Mother of Quakerism , Fell is credited with being the first woman to publicly advocate for the right of women to participate in the public arena and to be involved in the leadership of the church.
In 1666, she became the first woman to publish a fully developed treatise on the right of women to speak publicly. Her argument was compelling and based entirely on scripture. There is no record that during the course of pursuing her “agenda” of helping to establish the Society of Friends and the equal rights for women promoted within that society, that Fell ever abandoned her faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or forsook her family to embrace an immoral lifestyle. Fell’s husband, Judge Thomas Fell, trusted her entirely with the running of their estate while he traveled extensively in the course of carrying out his duties.
The first national Woman’s Rights Conference was organized primarily by women who had already gained experience in public speaking, administration, and organizational skills through their activities in Quaker meetings. As the first woman to speak publicly in the United States was not permitted to do so until 1836, the providence of God is evident in preparing Quaker women for public speaking and in providing them with opportunities to gain the organizational experience needed for furthering the causes of abolition and women’s rights.
The first American “Woman’s Rights” Conference held in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, was a largely Christian event. It was held at a Methodist Church. Most of the organizers were Quakers, and the majority of attendees were professing Christians.
According to Angelina Grimke, an abolitionist and member of The Society of Friends herself, the very first Quaker voice raised against slavery [in the United States] was the voice of an American woman who lived during the 1700’s. Because of her outspoken stance against slavery--before it was acceptable or popular to do so--this courageous woman was excommunicated from her Quaker fellowship but stood her ground until her death. She made such an impact, that after her death, the Quakers never again excommunicated another "Friend" for speaking out against slavery...but rather for owning slaves.
Such is the legacy of Godly women who dared to stand against false religious tradition and corrupt public opinion.
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Jocelyn Andersen writes and speaks about many subjects including Bible prophecy and equality of the sexes. She is best known for her advocacy in domestic violence awareness. Her book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, is a staple in the library of resources on that subject.
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