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"Women were second-class citizens in the year 1900". How far is this a true assessment of women at the beginning of the Twentieth century?

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Introduction

"Women were second-class citizens in the year 1900". How far is this a true assessment of women at the beginning of the Twentieth century? This is difficult to answer as it is hard to determine whether all women had the same problem or whether some were better treated than others. There are many views as to whether women were second-class citizens and it is a widely speculated point as many different people have many different answers. There is much evidence that women were second-class citizens in the year 1900, but there is also evidence that they were not treated too badly and some even liked the way things were. In spite of this, some campaigned for more equality in many areas such as political rights and marriage. This is shown in many ways. There were limited job opportunities and women were only allowed to do domestic service, nursing, teaching, factory work, shop work or living at home and working there. ...read more.

Middle

There was a Custody of Infants Act passed which meant that women who were divorced were able to keep their children. The Married Women's Property Acts in 1870 and 1882 meant that they were able to keep any land they owned before they got married as their own and not their husband's. The Guardianship of Infants Act and Married Women's Act in 1886 allowed women even more freedom when it came to marriage and divorce. This shows that in 1900 women were not too badly treated when it came to marriage. Working-class and Middle-class women had life very differently. Working-class women generally worked all day and came home to housework, cooking, cleaning etc. In contrast to this, most middle-class women did not have to work as their husband supported the family. Despite this it meant that the middle-class women had very little freedom and although they were not tied down to working life it gave them very little to do and therefore they were probably treated more like second-class citizens than the working-class because of their limited opportunities. ...read more.

Conclusion

This meant that, although in some areas such as the vote, political rights and many job respects they were treated as less than the men, they were not completely treated as second-class citizens. The fact that they were viewed as second-class citizens in some respects shows, in my opinion, nothing but human nature as every being looks down on something, in this case, the men looked down on the women and the women looked down on the children who had even less rights than they. This is still true nowadays as humans, even though we are now largely equal, look down on people of different nationalities, race, religion, colour etc and also humans look down on animals which in turn look down on each other for example; the lion is the "king of the jungle" so it probably looks down on the tigers etc. This is just the nature of living creatures so in my opinion, women were not treated too badly in 1900 and have come a long way since then. ...read more.

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