Makando Mutanda Mr. Johnson English 1101 Fall 2010 Women: Now & Then Living in the United States we’ve seen women come a long way. Women couldn’t vote or play specific sports, we saw more men having cooperate jobs than we did women. However a lot has changed over the years. Today there more women doctors, lawyers, governors, and senators. Last year a woman even ran for president. In the United States everyone is seen equally for the most part, we all have the same opportunities, and there is no gender barrier to hold a person back from pursuing their dreams.
But this has been to true for every woman in the past. Women faced a lot of problems that prevent them from any improvement. However there are still a lot of factors that have led women to be seen as the “weaker” gender. Women have made a lot of improvement politically, educational, and socially allowing them to be considered as equal in society today. Women’s reproductive rights in the early 19th century were very low. Women were encouraged to have children and women suffrage activists like Margaret Sanger were ignored until early 1960s. Having children was an important Victorian value.
Abortion was a crime in most countries and most states in the United States. Society believed a woman’s place was in her home, caring for her husband and children, as opposed to the workplace. In the Victorian era and early 20th century women were not allowed to work in many jobs. There was a view that women were good at repetitive jobs. Consider, an example of a progressive like Charles Davenport (who established the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor) only allowed women to work a maximum of three years because they had to go and have children and take care of them.
In summary, society dictated women’s roles. Many jobs did not want women working for a long time to avoid hindering a woman’s responsibility to reproduce children and take care of the home. On the other hand, females currently have access to almost every job that exists. There are female Chief Executive Officers, police, soldiers and many other careers that were unthinkable. More young women than ever are going to school, working both in blue- and white-collar jobs, and living by themselves in city apartments. Today an independent woman is in encouraged and recognized.
In the early 19th century, women were not allowed to vote. No country in the world had voting rights for women. Nevertheless the United States gave women voting rights in 1920 and United Kingdom gave women rights later in the century. Allowing women to be very active in politics and they have been highly involved in politics. Speaking to women in patronizing manner is unthinkable today (at least in public). Many remember the vice presidential debate between George H Bush and Geraldine Ferraro in which Geraldine stated she did not appreciate George H Bush patronizing manner.
Since then politicians have been careful not to sound patronizing. One would wonder if the word “patronizing” was commonly used in the early 19th century or even existed. Women in the early 20th century were very conservatively dressed. Women’s dresses were usually heavier and quiet. This involved women covering most of their body except their face. This was also called vintage dressing. As time went on clothes became lighter and lighter. By the early 1960s miniskirts were pretty common and vintage dressing was seen as sign of women’s freedom’s restriction in the face of a male dominated society.
Women’s fashion changed with women’s role in society. They began to wear skirts with slits, shorter and tighter dresses. They also began to cut their hair shorter into bobs, bold and vibrant make up. However as time has moved on many things have changed for women’s fashion. Instead of most women being completely covered and conservative they are nude photos on the cover and inside of many magazines. Many women today were more jeans, slacks, even blazers, clothing that men are supposed to wear.
For a long time women were considered the weaker sex, but today women have greatly improved their status. Time has allowed women to overcome a lot of barriers. Women have gained the equal status they were deprived from many years ago. Once Women won the right to vote, they increased their educational and job opportunities. Women faced many restrictions that they’ve now overcome and set standards for themselves allowing them to compete, with men today. These days it’s common to see women doing men’s jobs and doing a better job than some men do.