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In what respects was there a 'separation of spheres' in the later half of the 19th century?

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Introduction

In what respects was there a 'separation of spheres' in the later half of the 19th century? In the later half of the 19th century men and women were seen to live in 'separate spheres.' Public activity for men and domestic/private for women. However some upper class women did have the chance to do voluntary work such as charity work. Upper class women at this time where seen to obey their husbands, they had a role, they were ladies so they had to act like ladies. Women were excluded from the public sphere men where seen as top of society and women shouldn't get involved with politics as they wouldn't understand. Men were seen as more intelligent and had reason thought they had control over their wives, before 1850 the common law was that married women had no identity apart from that of her husband, husbands had the right to decide where to live and how to live. At this point in time it was also legal to beat up their wives and lock them up if they disobeyed their husband. Women also couldn't divorce their husbands and if they did separate the husband gets custody of the children. By 1850 many women had accepted the fact they were different and not equal to their husbands, especially upper and middle class women, but things changed and beliefs changed when the idea of a 'new woman' was introduced. ...read more.

Middle

These women wanted everyone to gain the vote especially working class men because they believed that the result of men gaining the vote would be higher wages and better working conditions and would then lead on to better living conditions which would benefit the whole family. June Hannam suggests that the aim of the chartist movement was to restore the traditional division of labour and sexual power, this meant that that men going out to work got the higher role in the labour movement and meant that working class women were to back down. The lives of working class women, employment and their roles at home with the family didn't bring them any political authority. At this time there was the emergence of the first generation of working men's club, which women had no part in and it was reassuring that men had a separate life away from women and their family. The club consists of leisure and mostly labour who were members of the trade unions. This club reinforced the division in the 19th century of the spheres public and private between men and women. By this time many working women didn't want to follow these rules, the roles of women were changing they wanted property rights, this is where the roles in women come in. Many women now wanted greater legal equality middle class women were now unhappy with sitting back and not having any other roles apart from the domestic role. ...read more.

Conclusion

These created small women councils, which allowed voting in a small election. There is slow progress for women at this time but in 1907 local government act aims to admit women to all local government authorities. Political parties improving and females getting involved would stand on the left government would stand on the right, this is were we see a growth of women's political organisations. From 1880 both labour and conservative had to involve women in the work, so in 1884 women were admitted to the Prim Rose led which was conservative. The first local women liberal association was founded in 1881, this group became the National women's liberal federation in 1887. Both groups were very different although they were women's groups. The Prim Rose led would not be suffrages, the womanly idea of being a lady effective and practical organisation. The labour party were more assertive and determined then the prim rose, they said that women should shape and remind the role of women, both groups however didn't agree with women suffrage. Women were not excluded from everything by now, they did have a role in politics on a local level from 1869 onwards. This shows how my the end of the 19th century the 'separate spheres' were changing, women were becoming more involved with public life and where allowing things to be changed. By late 1890's women were entering local government, serving schools, they had together passed new laws, which changed the higher status of the male, slowly gaining equal opportunities for women. ?? ?? ?? ?? Elizabeth Dye History Women 07/10/02 ...read more.

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