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In what ways and to what extent did the status of women change in the nineteenth century.

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Introduction

In what ways and to what extent did the status of women change in the nineteenth century. This essay is aimed at examining how and to what degree women's status changed during the nineteenth century. Points that will be examined include, looking at areas that affected their lives to a great extent. Which includes their legal and employment status, education and political standing. There was a certain degree of change for women's rights during the nineteenth century in all of the above aspects. Although, they still had rather a tough life that is, unless you had a very high-class position. If you were women born or married into the aristocracy, the principal concern for you would be to marry well, hopefully a gentleman with lots of land or property and then produce a son and heir for your husband. A great deal of pressure was brought to bear on women to have a son. Lord Londonderry gave his wife a set of pearls worth �10,000 when she gave birth to their first son in 1821. The upper and middle class women were not expected to work. ...read more.

Middle

Men also had the upper hand when it came to separation, divorce and custody of children. In the early nineteenth century if a husband and wife separated, men were considered to be the sole parent and they retained custody of any legitimate children. This was not changed until 1878 when judicial separation was formally allowed for women. Then in 1886 when an act was passed that stipulated, "The welfare of the child should be taken in full consideration" and thus undermined the fathers assumed right to custody. Other laws that were passed affected women's employment situation. The Factory Act in 1842 banned the employment of women and children underground. Then in 1844 they were classified in the same way as children and only permitted to work a certain amount of hours in textile factories, also they were not permitted to do night work. After 1878 the Factory and workshops Act extended protection for women to all industries. Also women's hours of working were reduced. Although this may seem to be favourable for women, it made it harder for women who needed to work a lot of hours to earn an income. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the most dramatic changes in the nineteenth century was women uniting and rising up against the political system of Britain. One of these women was Louisa Twining who was the organiser of the Workhouse Reform Act. She was constructive in having some of the worst workhouses abolished particularly after 1875 when an act was passed that enabled women to become Poor Law Guardians. Other changes in women's political standing started in 1867 when The London Society for Women's Suffrage was founded to press the case of women to get the vote in Parliamentary Elections. However certain democratic institutions, that barred women, in actual fact helped to politicise them. As women were denied from voting, when working class men were given the vote in 1867 this was considered infuriating who thought of themselves as superior. So women responded by creating their own groups and uniting all over the country to create national organisations. The results of this were a women's movement of considerable power and effectiveness. This emerged around the 1880's onwards to fight for married women's control of their own property, child custody, and the fight for women's suffrage. For the remaining part of the nineteenth century women did their utmost to advance the cause for women's rights but sadly to no avail. ...read more.

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