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Women’s Growing Independence In Urban Environments

603 words - 3 pages

Women’s Growing Independence in Urban Environments
The growing urban population that the late nineteenth century saw led to women being more involved in their communities. Declining birth rates and increasing divorce rates led to women feeling a sense of independence that they had not experienced in more rural environments. Women were open to take on jobs that were not available to them when they lived on farms. Feminist writers played large roles in raising awareness over feminist issues. Many factors came together to invite feminist feelings and movements that may not have been possible without the rising urban population.
City environments changed the average American family in several ways. Rather than working together on a farm, family members were scattered around the city. Less children were being born simply because they were not needed. In rural environments, couples ...view middle of the document...

In 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage Association was founded. They argued that in the city, they needed to voice their opinion on things like education and public health because they were becoming more and more known in the work force. The suffrage movement also took effect because women wanted to show society that they had the right to vote and that there were just as equal as men. Men often ridiculed the movement, but women pushed on and slowly got to vote in local elections in some states. Women got the right to own their own land after marriage. City living also brought the organization of many women’s clubs that were not available to them in the spaced out, rural environments. Women were slowly taking roles that previously were only open to men.
Feminist writers brought light to issues and ideas that had not been addressed before. For example, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman suggested centralized nurseries and kitchens so that women could make time for work. Women started to realize the freedoms available to them as they went to nightclubs after work and started using birth control. Divorce rates increased and the idea of “free love” was introduced. In a sense, the urbanization that took place in the late 19th century ignited questions about sexual attitudes and morality.
It may seem crazy that there was a time when women had to fight to work, vote, and have their own sense of independence. The urbanization of society in the late 19th century almost made women’s liberation inevitable. Before families moved to cities, the life of a woman was in the house. Their responsibilities were to take care of the children, tend to some small farm jobs, and cook. With their new lives in the cities, these responsibilities were either cut down or diminished altogether. Statistically, average family size got smaller and the stresses of the city made divorce rates grow. Therefore, women were left with new freedoms they had not had before. Their independence was shown in many forms, and ignited feminist ideals that we still see today.

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