In the years leading up to the American Revolution, women did not have many specific freedoms or rights. They were viewed as lesser than men, an ideal that was evident far into the 20th century. This concept was a major factor in women 's lives as they did not obtain as many opportunities as men, more specifically free white men, in their home lives, work and society. Women were most commonly at home, and did not work. They were commonly depicted as weaker than men, and mainly as homemakers and mothers.
Anne Bradstreet Anne Bradstreet was America's first noteworthy poet in spite of the fact that she was a woman. Both the daughter and wife of Massachusetts governors, Bradstreet suffered all of the hardships of colonial life, was a mother, and still found time to write. Her poem, "The Author to Her Book," is an example of Bradstreet's excellent use of literary techniques while expressing genuine emotion and using domestic subject matter. Because her father was a studious man, Bradstreet was able to receive a good education and was well read. She enjoyed serious and religious writings and admired many of the great poets of the time, among these Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and John Donne.
She was very talented and passionate about her work. However, living in the 19th century made it especially hard to express her wonderful ideas as a woman. This forced her to publish most of her books anonymously so that people would not automatically dismiss her work (Christine, 2012, Writer Hero: Jane Austen). In fact, critics didn 't fully appreciate her style of writing at the time. They thought that Jane’s popularity was overrated because of her limited thought to her small world and it’s small concerns.
Although girls were given a compulsory state education 1870, few went to university and those who did were not awarded a degree. Women had very few rights under marriage, when a woman married; she and all her possessions became the property of her husband. Furthermore the criminal acts today of wife-battering and marital rape were legal. Even with this occurring in many marriages it was extremely difficult for a woman to get a divorce, as it was too expensive. During this period there was also a strong sexual double standard.
Upper class and most middle class women were expected not to work. In 1911, a census showed that 90% of all married women did not work at all. But as more men joined the army, more jobs became available to women. Pre 1914, women worked as servants and in factories. In 1914 there were 5.9million women working out of 23.7million.
Women most commonly worked as teachers, domestic workers, or mill workers. As acknowledged in Document B, women did tedious work that did not require much. Also many colleges did not accept women unless they were colleges created by women. Document C discusses this conveying that women were the first teachers but they were refused the opportunity to education. Around the middle of the nineteenth century, women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony started demanding rights for women.
The misnomer that very few women had jobs back in the 30’s and 40’s, is not true. In fact, the majority of women had jobs. Even during the Great Depression, almost all women leaving school looked for jobs, and eventually found one. Of the women born in 1915, 91% had a job by 1938, which was relatively good compared to the 96% of men in the work force. Most women, however, quit their jobs after getting married so by 1939, there were millions of housewives with a variety of job experience.
Helen Zlatkin, born in 1962, had no work experience in the former USSR, but her personal account demonstrates the types of choices that women made in order to have both family and work. Mela Krul was the only one who had extensive work experience in the USSR, but she was able to see the changes and progress that women underwent through the daily activities and choices that both of her daughters made. As these three women came to the United States of America, along with their families, they faced a democratic government where employment was not guaranteed and women did have to face the hardships of unemployment, and more importantly, inequality. It would be the values and traditions that both Alla and Helen believed in that allowed them to be successful and relatively unaffected by inequality. In the time period that the three women lived in the USSR, society was ruled by socialism (communists did exist, but were not the majority).
This lack of education meant that most women had little chance of getting a degree or having a profession such as medicine, even though some universities did let women study there. Even if a woman was highly qualified, there was resistance to them working: for example, in the teaching profession women had to leave their jobs if they got married and they were rarely promoted above men. In fact, only a very small minority of middle class women worked in the professions and for most women, there was no possibility of receiving enough education. Women were much more likely to choose a job that did not need a high level of education, but these jobs were also limited: for example, there were many jobs in coal mining, as coal was a major source of fuel, to warm homes and to power factories, but women found it too hard to carry out this sort of physically demanding work. 5.9 million women worked at the time, (25% of the female population) and 1.5 million women (6.3% of the working population) worked in the domestic service, making it the most popular type of work, for women.
And if the women were recognized as much as they should be I?m sure we wouldn?t need a completely different subject for Women?s History because they would cover it in the regular history classes, instead of the subject consisting of 99.9% males. Martha?s day was a pretty long one and consisted of many jobs to do, anything from cleaning the house to delivering a baby. The fact that she never lost a mother during any of the childbirths is astonishing in itself since it was the number one cause of death in women. Among those jobs she also spun, raised her children, worked on her farm, and treated illnesses, coming up with her own remedies. For example when Parthenia was sick and she had her drink the last milk from the cow in hopes of her getting better which unfortunately she wasn?t able to make her get better and Parthenia died.