The Evolution of Women Rights in Europe The evolution of women rights all over the world has helped form our society today. The role of women and men have transformed over the years, creating a somewhat balanced community. Women are now allowed to rise with succession or stay in poverty, along with men. Four centuries ago, the life of many were filled with struggle and agony, however the lives of all women were filled with boundaries and suffering. Without the women rights movement all over the world, women would remain limited in the workplace, government, and homes to this day.
Over the years, many women have elevated their status in the world, creating a broader mindset for the world’s society. Many believe that the women right movement was a minor factor in world history. However, the women rights movements are the source for the role of women and men in present day. Therefore in this research paper the question will be: how did the rights of women in Europe change between the years 1600 and 1800? In the 1600s, the rights of all women were minuscule. The career aspects for women were narrow.
According to the online article “Women in Tudor Times” by Tim Lambert, all professions such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher were not an option for women. During this time, most women worked as cloth spinners, tailors, embroiderers, milliners, dyers, shoemakers and washerwomen. Also, a large population of women stayed home caring for their children and/or attending to their housework. Lambert specified that some women also sold food on the streets to make a living and also worked in food preparation such as breweries and bakeries.
Alongside those career possibilities, women worked as domestic servants, midwives r apothecaries. Lambert also discusses the wages of men and women and the treatment towards wealthier wives. In most cases, men were paid more than women due to discrimination. As for the wealthy wives, they were still constrained in the work area. Wealthy women were not allowed to work to a profession either; however their lives were much easier than those of middle or lower class. Rich women typically organized and supervised the servants. Also if the man of the household was away, the wife would run the estate.
As you can see, during the 16th century, omen were not completely disabled in the work area; however they remained working in lower positions and were paid unfairly. In his article, Lambert describes women’s education during the 16th century to be varied throughout the classes. No women were allowed to attend school however, women and girls from wealthy families such as Elizabeth l, were typically allowed to be tutored from their homes. Middle class women were allowed to be taught by their mothers, subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic and house skills such as sewing.
Merchant’s daughters were usually taught how to run the family business. Women of the poor class were not very educated unless their own family provided the knowledge. Despite the learning ability, a woman was not allowed to learn at all if their husband or father did not allow it. Other obstacles for women of this time were the option to vote and the trauma of voice their opinions, constantly hidden behind a husband or father, or any male fgure. According to the article “Lives of Women in the Early 1800s” written by Kelly Smith, a woman’s life typically belonged to any male figure in her life.
If a woman had inherited anything from anyone, her husband would seize it all. Women lived to become married, bear children, and serve their husbands. If a woman were to remain single, she was ridiculed and Judged by the community. Smith also mentioned in her article that women were very rarely allowed to divorce and until 1891, if a woman were to elude from an unhappy marriage, she could be captured and punished by the law. Women began to form a voice during the French Revolution as stated in the article “1. 4 Women’s Politics: The Feminist Movement”.
As one of the most well-known revolutions, the French Revolution consisted of the peasants of France rioting and bjecting King Louis XVI for the lack of food and work. As the women of the lower class France began to take action in this Junction, they also began to voice their opinions on their political rights. According to the article, women began collecting pre-revolutionary petitions consisting of the demands for education, the discernment of discriminatory laws, and the demand for representation in the Estates General.
However, during the revolution women were denied access to political sovereignty by the National Assembly. The woman’s suffrage movement only grew feminist upporters after this event. Olympe de Gouges was a French playwright and political activist, whose writings attracted a large audience, especially the feminist audience. Olympe de Gouges wrote a Declaration of the Rights of Women in 1791. In this written material, she demanded the political representation for women and for the citizenship of women as well.
This declaration sparked up controversy, considering it mocked Rousseau’s’ Social Contract and the Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789. Another women’s suffrage activist was Emmeline Pankhurst. This English woman uffrage organizer contributed to the movement in quite a significant way. According to a written biography called “Emmeline Pankhurst” by Jone Johnson Lewis, Pankhurst formed The Women’s Franchise League with her two daughters in 1889. This league won the vote for women in elections for local offices in 1894.
However, these progressions were only the beginning for Pankhurst, as she soon founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the early 1900s. Both of these women and many more were great influences of the women suffrage movement in Europe. As more civilians began to support the cause, the government egan to react. Slowly, the different regions of Europe began to grant women more rights. According to the Wikipedia article “Women’s Suffrage”, Austria granted a small amount of women the right to vote, as long as they owned property.
All though this technicality was closed in 1889 in Lower Austria, this only raised the political awareness of the need for the right to vote for women. In 1864, taxpaying women and women with a profession were granted the right to vote by proxy and made officially a part of the legislative body. This article also states that taxpaying women of Finland ere allowed to vote during the Swedish Age of Liberty which was during 1718-1771. Taxpaying women did not get the official right to vote in Finland until 1863 for the Association in 1894. Spain had a female mayor (Maria Isabel de Ayala), by 1865.
The list of progress throughout Europe goes on to great lengths during the late 1800s. After women began to gain a voice and a vote, they also began to gain respect. Women were no longer held back by the boundaries of the government. All though women were still discriminated against as the less dominant sex, they began to revolutionize the role of women. Women began to realize that their lives did not revolve around the male fgures that tended to dominate them. Women were soon granted more educational privileges, which gave them a starting point with their futures.
Women now had more options in life. They were not constrained to work in a certain Job field. Women became lawyers, doctors, teachers, servants, midwives, and apothecaries. Some women thrived for an elevated work status and some did not. What mattered was that they worked in the field of their choice, unless they did not have the means to access such a Job. Women also gained respect in their homes. It took many years after the woman’s suffrage movement, considering that most men did not care about the new laws.
After gaining human rights, women began to form the dominant role of women. In todays society, it is common for the woman to have control of her family, while the man possesses the protective role. The roles of women and men today, were altered, affected, and formed by the history of the world, especially the woman’s right suffrage. In conclusion, women rights have evolved in such a substantial manner between he years 1600 and 1800s, which affected society’s history. Women went from having little to no rights, to becoming what they are today: dominant fgures.
In European society, women began with such low standards, having no rights. Women could not vote, they could not aspire, they could not dream. Women did not even possess a voice in their own households. During the 1800’s, women remained to have many of these struggles, however this was the time that customs began transforming in the worlds societies. The women’s rights suffrage was a significant time in Europe’s istory and it truly developed over the time span of three centuries, changing and challenging history forever.
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