The Changing Role of Women Since 1865
“It can be said that the feminist movement has resulted in action and legislation; that in consciousness-raising it has found a new technique and self-realization; that at its very best it has counseled that men as well as women should be able to do and to be whatever they wish- and that if this involves men staying at home while women work, so be it” (Banner, 1974, p. 250). Women have come a long way since the late 1800s. They have fought many hard battles to change the way they were viewed in American society and have achieved much over the decades. The movement of women’s rights and being treated as an equal to men has been part of history for ...view middle of the document...
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had an amendment passed on it in 1972 which was Title IX amendment. “Title IX states that: ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance’”(History of women, 2007). This law prohibited sex discrimination in the educational system and was the first of its kind. Prior to this law, female students were restricted on courses, programs or denied completely from attending the school. In 1910 the female students made up 39 percent of the undergraduates and by 1980 that number rose to 51 percent (History of women, 2007).
A higher education did become more and more accessible to the public. The number of colleges and universities grew along with their size “to accommodate the wave of veterans offered a subsidized education by a grateful nation” (Marx Ferree & Hess, 1994, p. 7). Attending college became more of a normal activity for women. Women became interested in business, law and medicine “...but there were many barriers to their participation, including opposition from male-dominated professional gatekeepers and the extraordinary difficulties of combining a career and family” (Marx Ferree & Hess, 1994, p. 8).
The late nineteenth century brought more of an acceptance to women who attended college. “Today, women study subjects of personal interest, pursuing degrees that match their talents, interests, and aspirations” (Pegues, 1998). If a woman wants to continue her education past a bachelor’s today, it is common to see women earning their Master’s or Doctorate.
There are more and more women in the workforce today, however, that was not the case back in the late 1800s early 1900s. Still, one has to ask themselves are they being treated as fairly as men are today. “A women’s priority in young adulthood was to find a husband, and after doing so, raise a family and run a well-kept household. Women were not expected to harbor aspirations other than ‘…the acquisition of a husband, a family, and a home….’” (Pegues, 1998). The official version of the Declaration of Independence, which also was the one that was dispersed to all the colonies, was printed by a woman by the name of Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore (Stencil, 1977, p. 30). This was not a typical job of the women of her era. Goddard was also the “nation’s first, and for many years the only, woman postmaster” (Stencil, 1977, p.30). However, women of that time period mostly contributed by spinning and weaving. This work was usually done at home but later did find its way to the factory. There has always been a “strong belief that family care is a women’s most important responsibility” (Marx Ferree & Hess, 1994, p. 6).
It was not until the Civil War that the job opportunities for women began to take off and send them into a new found place in the job market. The...