Womens roles in the late 1800s and early 1900s

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How Did the Roles of Women Change Over the Course of the Late 19th Century?

womens roles in the late 1800s and early 1900s

Change of Women’s Roles in the late 1800s

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Samantha Curtis. In the early 19 th century the roles of women in American society were predominately as cook, wife, mother, and general homemaker in a mainly rural setting. Families were much larger and relied on the women to provide children to perform free manual labor on the farm in order to maintain the family income and welfare. They enjoyed few political, legal, or social rights and were expected to be subservient to their husbands and fathers in all matters. However, with the coming of the First World War and the industrial revolution the demand for workers to produce goods was higher than the available men in the U. As a result, women gained entry into the workforce and from that grew to establish gender equality within the United States permanently. The few jobs that were available to them were being a maid or a servant to a noble family, which entailed the exact same work ethic they applied when caring for their own families.

WIC Main Page. Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women's most significant professions. In the 20th century, however, women in most nations won the right to vote and increased their educational and job opportunities. Perhaps most important, they fought for and to a large degree accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their role in society.

Despite the growth of industry, urban centers and immigration, America in the late 19th century was still predominantly rural. Seven out of ten people in the United States lived in small towns with populations under or on farms in In Indiana, the census reported a population of almost 2 million residents, about 55 per square mile, 1,, men and , women. About three out of four people lived in rural areas. The "Cult of Domesticity, " first named and identified in the early part of the century, was solidly entrenched by late nineteenth century, especially in rural environments.

In the later nineteenth century things for women began to change. No doubt this had something to do with modernity and its intrinsic insistence on change, and no doubt it had something to do with the actions of women themselves, with their desire to break out of the limits imposed on their sex. The nineteenth century therefore apears to have been a turning point in the long history of women. The old tensions were still present between work at home or in the shop and family, between the domestic ideal and social utility, beween the world of appearances, dress, and pleasure and the world of subsistence, aprenticeship, and the practice of a profession, and between religious practice as spiritual exercise and social regulator and the new realm of education in secular schools. Motherhood was viewed in advice literature, particularly by the s, as one of the most important contributions women could make to her family and to the nation. With the influx of Southern European and other non-WASP immigrants in the latter half of the nineteenth century, many Americans feared losing what was then considered American.

In the early 19 th century in America, women had different experiences of life depending on what groups they were part of. A dominant ideology at the beginning of the s was called Republican Motherhood: middle and upper-class white women were expected to be the educators of the young to be good citizens of the new country. The other dominant ideology about gender roles that was common in the first half of the s in white upper and middle-class circles was that of separate spheres : women were to rule the domestic sphere home and raising children and men the public sphere business, trade, government. This ideology would have, if followed consistently, meant that women were not part of the public sphere at all. But there were a variety of ways that women did take part in public life. Biblical injunctions against women speaking in public discouraged many from that role, but some women became public speakers anyway.

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The Role of the Wife and Mother

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Women's Participation in Public Life in the Early 1800s

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