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Discuss the view that women made no progress in society untill granted the vote in 1918?

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Introduction

Discuss the view that women had made no progress in society until they were granted the vote in 1918. In my opinion I disagree with the opinion that women had made no progress in society until 1918 when they were granted the vote due the women of Britain had to establish a high enough status in order to change the governments opinion of whether the women deserved the vote. So up to 1918 women of Britain had worked on establishing status to an equal political level that of men. The struggle for equal education took root in the Victorian period during the mid-eighteen hundreds women were expected to live up to a feminine ideal. This ideology required women to be "pure, pious, domestic and submissive" (Eisenmann Appendix). None of these ideals would be achieved through education. In fact, the concept of receiving an education in the Victorian Period was considered an "act of nonconformity"(Solomon xviii). A woman could not fill her preordained place in society if she wasting her time gaining knowledge. Education was thought to make women become delusional with their current status as a wife and mother. Women's suffrage did not become a political issue in the United Kingdom until 1832, when the 1832 Reform Act specifically disenfranchised women. ...read more.

Middle

In the middle of the 19th century it was virtually impossible for women to become doctors, lawyers, architects or bankers. The majority of women worked in factories or as nurses. Women were allowed to become teachers. In 1861 over 72% of teachers were women, but teaching was a low status job and was also very badly paid. However Britain cotton trader remained on the strongest in the world and textile work came in surplus however this work was more set in northern England and Scotland and discontinued into other parts of the British isles. Women were then set in low paid jobs was no skills if not easy skills were required. Working class women remained at the bottom of the economic scale feminist new that a desperate change was needed. Being that women started of the lowest of the low having a high work profession became a huge hurdle that became easier to manage whilst the education quality rose dramatically. With women earning 65% of the male wage in the late 19th century equality was a far-fetched dream. However improvements in professions were not as drastic as they were in education. Education way improved dramatically due to laws being enforced. Since the sex discrimination act was not introduced into Britain until 1975 and the equal pay act in 1970. ...read more.

Conclusion

However Many people were shocked by the idea of a woman speaking in public about sexual matters. The Contagious Diseases Act was finally repealed in 1886 showing us that women did make some progress in gaining more equal rights in terms of sexual morality yet despite the law being repelled the campaign to remove the law did not raise moral of women despite there being "leaders" of the campaign. Josephine Butler and Elizabeth Wolstenholme led the campaign against this legislation and formed the Ladies' Association Against the Contagious Diseases Act. They both toured the country making speeches calling for a change in the law or for it to be removed. Despite this women did not speak openly about sexual matters in the 19th century openly and the campaign was kept quiet after the law had been removed. In conclusion I do not agree with the statement claiming that women made no progress in society until 1918 as women had made progress in so many aspects of society it would be hard to claim they didn't. They allowed women to achieve high academic status earnt a more respected opinion on the political front. Also the main group of extreme feminists let the other women in Britain know that some of the laws just were not fair and that something ought to be done. With the help of such groups as the suffragettes the women achieved newspaper headlines and they were allowed into university along with males. Lizzie Bloxham 25/02/2008 ...read more.

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