Between 1800 and 1900 the lives of women in Britain and attitudes towards women changed dramatically Essay

Source ‘A,’ shows women’s situation concerning law and political rights. As this is the beginning of the 1800s, it is accurate to say, that the laws would be correct, regarding of the time. Out of the six laws, included was, ‘women could not vote. ‘ This shows men believed that women were not capable of making their own decisions. Because of this, it is safe to say, that usually the leader voted in would be opposed to women’s rights. Unless action was taking into place immediately, it is likely that there would be any change in the situation.

Another of the laws was that, ‘women could not work in politics. ‘ This meant that men thought that women were not suited to leading the country. Their view many differ from the habitual view of a man; usually making sure that women would have a certain amount of rights. An additional law was that, ‘women could not take a degree. ‘ This suggests that men believed that women were not as intelligent as they were. This also means that it is unlikely for the woman to have a good job, for they could not get anywhere in work, as they had no educational degree.

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This shows how superior the men were to women. Wives could not own property,’ is also a rule concerning women’s law and political rights. This law means that, if divorced, they would not have a house to live in. Because of the circumstances of the divorce, the parents of the woman may not want them to live with them anymore. A woman may often have had to live on the streets, due to the consequences of not owning their own property. The fifth law in the rights was that, ‘women were not legal guardians of their children. ‘ Again, this relates to divorce, if divorced, they would have no chance whatsoever of having custody over the child.

If the husband of the wife died, unfortunately for the woman, they would suffer the consequences of someone coming into the house, in order to be sole guardian of their child. The last of the laws, was that, ‘wives could not keep their own earnings. ‘ This meant that what a woman earned could not be kept. If divorced, the woman would have no money to speak off, alongside no property or custody of children. From the source, you can safely say that women were not treated correctly during the early 1800’s. We cannot speak to rashly at this point or time, as we still need to compare with later 1800’s to the 1900’s.

Source B is a timeline of changes that have occurred from 1839-1888. This timeline should give us a more accurate view on whether of not, there were changes for women between 1800 and1900. In 1839, we see that the, ‘Custody of Infants Acts- gave more rights to divorced woman to their children. ‘ This law creates a chance for a woman to see their child when once divorced. Although 39 years into 1839, this law provides more choices for a more open-minded view on women’s laws. In 1847, a factory act was passed stating that women were to work more than 10 hours a day.

The circumstances in a textiles factory meant that dust from the fabrics could often clot up lungs. By having less hours working in a factory, means less chance of ever contacting the illness. When this law was passed it was 1847, suggesting that there were little changes between the early 1800s and then towards 1900s. 10 years later was the divorce act, ‘husbands could divorce their wives on the grounds of adultery (although women could not divorce for the same reason until 1923). ‘ This suggests the prejudice between the two genders, for although men could divorce their wives for adultery, woman could not divorce men.

This shows the control over women in 1857, whilst woman sat demurely at home, men were allowed to do pretty much everything, including spending money with their wives earnings. In 1870, women were allowed to keep i??200 of their own earnings. This shows a dramatic change since source A’s, ‘wives could not keep their own earnings,’ in the early 1800s. Things from then on started to improve. Women were allowed to vote in elections in school boards. This difference shows that more women were campaigning for better rights, whilst some men must also be approving of them, to let the laws be passed.

In 1871, ‘women were first admitted to Cambridge University. ‘ This shows that women were starting to get an education. By attending university, more people must be attending school, because of this; women were starting to get into university and gain better jobs. In 1873, women were allowed to see their children if they got divorced. This meant, that woman was becoming more active within the, ‘custody of infants act. ‘ In 1877, Sophie Jex Blake, was the first woman doctor allowed to practice. This suggests that men had become more attracted to women working in a ‘men’s. ‘ job.

They could see that women were just as capable and clever at working as a doctor, and allowed them to work beside them. In 1884, women were no longer considered the possession of their husbands; meaning that women could actually have a life, once divorced from their husbands. They could also make more choices and decisions, and overall, become more independent. The Third Reform Act in 1884 shows that five million men were able to vote in elections, unfortunately women were not included. Although, many changes had occurred since 1850, it seemed that there were still people undecided whether or not women should vote in important elections.

Four years later, however, women were allowed to vote in local council elections. You can see a big difference between 1800s and 1900s. In source, ‘A’ women’s status was very low, as woman had little rights whatsoever. At the end of the 1800s, women were allowed to vote, go to university and become doctors. The differences only started, however, 50 years into the 18th Century, suggesting that only 50 years into the 18th Century, dramatic changes started to occur. Women in the work place is the second of the three sections in the assessment.

In this part, one will be able to see how women were dealt with, throughout the 1800s. In source, ‘A,’ we see women working in industrial work. Women usually worked and, ‘supervised by men,’ suggesting that, women were not capable of working without a person sitting next to them. ‘We daren’t talk and we daren’t laugh. If we laughed or if we talked we had to leave off. ‘ This shows how little respect women were given. If they did talk, they would be in serious trouble, with the consequences being that they would not be paid for the time taken off. Habitually, men were always paid more than women were.

Whilst women were working a long 10-hour day, other jobs would be put on hold, ‘most women had to cook, clean, mend clothes and take care of the family. ‘ This suggests little consideration put upon women, for men have little to do with home care, and looking after family. When women had to look after their children, it was impossible for women to go out to work. They took up small jobs, for example: ‘sewing clothes,’ or, ‘making matchboxes. ‘ They were paid little money, producing the idea of children being born meant a dreary and unfortunate time. The cartoon shows a contrast between rich and poor.

In the first picture, you see women working tirelessly and under pressure in order to make dolls for the so-called, doll breakers. The doll breakers show children playing with many expensive toys, giving the impression of too important for the dolls made by the doll makers. This source was written in 1878, and shows that the late 1800’s was still quite bad. Women were paid little, when off looking after a baby whereas still being paid less then men. Conversely, however, women were being given their own earnings, and working less than 10 hours a day. This suggests a sudden change between the early 1800s to the late 1800s.

Source B is Agricultural work within the 1800’s, the work was manly gathering harvest and bending low over the fields. ‘The work was often hard, but farm workers generally enjoyed more freedom than factory workers. ‘ This suggests a good time working in the agricultural area, as allows freedom and enjoyment. We cannot tell whether this source is trust worthy or not, for we have no information on who wrote it or at what time. Source, ‘C, shows women and domestic service during 1800s and 1890s. Being in a domestic service attracted many women, and was thought of as a respectable job.

Even though more highly regarded, in some post were still treated unfairly. ‘Up at 6:30 in the morning, I never got to bed much before 10 at night. ‘ Yet some posts were different, ‘you dress nice with a white apron… oh it was ever so nice… [Time] we had off was a little while in the evening after tea. ‘ This proves, however, that some jobs were more respectful, whilst having breaks and a smart uniform. What we can see from sources was that as well as poor behaviour towards women in the late 1800s, there were also some fair and respectful manners.

This shows that depending on where you are and who your boss was, was how you were going to be treated. Source D shows Women and Men’s Wages. Unsurprisingly, men were paid a lot more than women were. In 1851, thimble makers were paid up to i??1. 05 a week compared to the 45p average wage for women. This is up to 60p more than women, proving that half way through the 1800s, sexism was still strong. Surface workers at tin mines in the 1880s were given 10p a day, whilst a women’s average wage was 5p. This is the same with two other jobs in the 1880s. Unfortunately for woman, twice were men paid double the women’s wages.

In 1890, a male carpet weaver was paid i??1. 75 a week; naturally, women were only paid i??1. 00. This proves, that although extremely late into the 1800s there was no change to a women’s wage compared to the man. For women in the work place, from what I can see, there was no dramatic change. Flo Mellish was too scared to speak in her factory, whilst articles from Girls are Powerful states that a young servant worked from 6:30 to 10 in the evening. When children were small, woman had to look after them, and the work that they did do only got them paid a pittance.

Throughout the 1800s, a male wage was apparently more than double the women’s average amount. From this section, it is unlikely to find a dramatic change. Women were paid little money, whilst still being treated more unfairly than their male counterparts. The last section in the assessment is attitudes to women. Source A shows the French writer Rousseau, give his opinions of what women were for, ‘to please men, to be useful to them, to win their love and respect. This shows, that men thought that women were little asset to them. Rousseau’s theory is almost that women were put on earth, just for man’s pleasure.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell when in the 18th Century this was written. In source B, Huxley, a respected 19th century scientist, believed that, ‘the average woman is inferior to the average man… Even in physical beauty the man is superior. ‘ Shockingly, Huxley was a respected 19th century scientist, who must have shared his opinions in either, late 1800s or early 1900s. What Huxley believed was that in every single way, men were better. This showed how little respect; Huxley must have had for woman, and how little he knew of them. Source C shows Thackeray, a 19th century novelist, mockingly saying how, ‘the ideal wife is… n exquisite slave… a humble, flattering, tea making, piano playing being… and fondly lies to us throughout life.

‘ Thackeray’s words, suggest how he believed that women were a bigger asset than most men believed. It also shows how men were also on the side of women, believing that all men and women should be equal. Source D shows Mary Wollstonecraft, stating that, ‘she believed that women without a vote were ‘women without voice. ‘ She also agreed that, [women] ‘should be educated and that single women should have the right to earn their own living. It is fortunate to see, people like Mary Wollstonecraft, fighting for rights for women and believing that men and women should be equal. The book, ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women,’ must have also been passed by a publisher (most likely to be male) proving that some men did believe in rights for women too.

Source E shows John Stuart Mill a writer and thinker, arguing in 1867 for more political rights. ‘Why should all women be left out when the bill makes it possible for some paupers and lunatics to be given vote? What Mill believed, was that whilst men were dominant in the voting system, so were paupers and lunatics, two types of people you unfortunately might not be educated or in the right state of mind in order to vote in an election. ‘Women and men are for the first time in history really each other’s companions,’ from this, what I understand, is that he believed that women and men were equal. As this is written in 1867, this suggests, that there must have been a dramatic change in order for it to be seen as, women and men, two equals.

The last source is F, and is written by Selina Cooper. I have often heard the, ‘sarcastic’ remark applied to the factory worker, ‘oh she is only a factory girl. ‘ Unfortunately, this was written in 1898, proving that forever and always, there would always be certain male chauvinists, believing themselves to be the dominant gender. This section shows numerous positive and negative sources. It does seem, depending on the person, you will always have a different view on the rights for women. I believe that the statement, ‘Between 1800 and 1900 the lives of women in Britain and attitudes between women changed dramatically,’ can be said to be right or wrong.

From what I have gathered, in the early 1800s the laws put in place were very anti-women rules: ‘women could not vote,’ and, ‘women were not legal guardians of their children,’ were just two rules, trying to fight against women. This proves to me, that in the early 1800s there was no dramatic change. From around 1840, things started to change; laws became fairer whilst women’s ambitions were becoming increasingly higher. In fact, in 1877, ‘Sophie Jex Blake became the first woman doctor,’ while in 1871, women were first admitted to Cambridge University.

From the source, it is accurate to say that, a dramatic change did occur. In the section, women in the work place, there were no dates corresponding with us not knowing whether events occurred in late/early 1800s. In source C, we find out two different cases in the late 1800s. One says they were treated correctly by their master whilst the other said they were not. From this, I do feel that the master of the servant was rebelling against the new laws and that depending on whom you were and what you were like was a big factor on if you were treated correctly.

This is seen again, in attitudes to women. You do have three cases in which men treated women as their inferior. The other three cases, however, shows how women should always be equal, proving both men and women believed that the situation is inadequate for women. In conclusion, I think there was a dramatic change in attitude and lives towards women. Of course, there would always be men, trying to fight against the system, but luckily for women, now had great influences and many golden opportunities.

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