Women have been regarded unjustly since ancient times. For example, women have historically been regarded not only as mentally insignificant but also as a significant cause of evil and temptation to men. It is believed in Greek mythology that a woman opened the forbidden box, bringing humanity disappointment and plagues. Women were also identified in early Roman law as infants and lower in standards compared to men.
Therefore, women have been generally deemed lesser than men for a long time. It explains why household work was left in preindustrial periods to women while heavy labour was given to men, for example, hunting and ploughing.
Particularly, during the 1800s and 1900s, the pattern of social disparity is clear. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were particularly difficult for women. They were treated as lowly humans, and among other issues were excluded from voting and schooling. This paper concentrates on women’s role in this period of history.
Women were typically stuck in their households in the early 1800s and did just domestic tasks. Nature and society have offered them roles as housekeepers, the home ethical guards and housewives for their family members, and the whole society. Their duties as housewives were to carry pregnancies, care for the children and devote themselves to their husbands.
Women have socially been regarded as weaker, thus unequal to men. This has made some liken such a situation to slavery. Men controlled everything in the society and women had no control whatsoever, which goes a long way to explain how less they were thought of.
Their main objective was to find a husband, bear children and care for the family all through their lives. It was forbidden for women to be single during those years; actually, society ridicules single women. A woman possesses property while she still lived in the house of her father, but the property is passed to the husband after she gets married to him. A man has every access to his wife’s properties including her body. Marriage was a lifetime undertaking for women. There are not to divorce; they are required to remain in a marriage with their husbands, no matter the cost.
Divorce was incredibly punishable and, no matter the case, the woman would be a victim still. This does not only damage their physical needs but also ruins their hope of independence. Their voice of control was reduced so that they could have no chance of social acknowledgement.
Besides caring for their families, women are not supposed to participate in other tasks. The man was the family’s main provider. The man was, therefore, the only financial source and for women to be protected economically, they have to marry financially secure men.
This left them increasingly reliant on men and would leave them without any money other than the wealth of their husbands if the man died.
In the 1800s, however, women’s revolutions became so successful that they started to question the traditional, political, economic and also, and social intellectuals that have prevented them from living life to the fullest. This was the culmination of the transformation of the roles of women around the world.
Women had fewer rights and employment opportunities across history, and therefore less recognition than their husbands. Their two notable occupations were wifehood and motherhood. Nevertheless, by the turn of the twentieth century, most women had acquired voting rights and had expanded their prospects for schooling and other positions originally considered for males.
For the sake of society’s stability, marriage was deemed very crucial and significant. Therefore, it was expected that women would be highly obedient and subservient for a good and secure marriage. In those days, schooling was a controversial subject, and this subject first pushed women to protest. Nevertheless, no woman could find a way to equalize education. Only wealthy parents’ daughters got formal education. Nevertheless, trained girls were viewed as physically unattractive, and it was difficult for them to get into marriage.
Learning to read and write were the only subjects that girls were taught at school. Other lessons included womanly activities, such as sewing, weaving, cooking, and midwifery. Women started forming movements to assist them in protesting against dictatorship and slavery from men. Such movements contributed to the revolution and this led to constitutional amendments contributing to the abolition of slavery. In the history of women, this was a huge accomplishment, because they could now voice their opinions freely.
Many mothers, to achieve the goals of Republican motherhood, obtained access to further education, so that, as prospective public residents and also as prospective teachers of another age, they might become effective teachers for their children. Not only were these women teachers, but they also created schools. Among the respected teachers were Mary Lyon and Catherine Beecher. The first African American female became a college graduate in 1850.
The 1849 graduation of Elizabeth Blackwell as the first female physicist in the U.S. demonstrates the transition which ended the first six months and began the second half of the century, steadily creating new opportunities for women.
Betsy Ross might well not have created the first US flag, as the story goes, but at the closing stages of the eighteenth century, she was a skilled flag maker. She pursued her career as a businesswoman and dressmaker, all through three marriages. Several other women worked with their fathers or husbands, or on their own if they are widowed.
Close to the middle of the eighteenth century, sewing machines were introduced. Most of the stitching was conducted at home manually or in small companies before that. As sewing and weaving fabric machines were introduced, young females started to work in industrial factories, several years before they married. The Lowell Mills often introduced young women to literary studies and witnessed what undoubtedly became America’s first women’s trade union.
Around 1870, opportunities for women to learn dramatically improved. Additional schools for girls originated and most schools allowed women to take advanced training. By the close of 1880, women made up a huge number of students in America. Also, with extra revolutions, women gained more constitutional rights. For example, the married female property law allowed married women to have control over their property and it no longer belonged to the husband.