Changes in the Role of Women Between the Sixteenth and the Twentieth Century

1100 Words5 Pages
Over long periods of time change is often inevitable. One such instance of change throughout history is that of family members and their role in not only the family, but also in society as a whole. Although changes can be seen in the roles of every family member, it can be argued that the role of women in the family, especially that of mothers, changed the most. Between the sixteenth century and the twentieth century, the role that mothers played in the family and in society changed greatly.

Since the sixteenth century, one of the most important roles of mothers, or women in general, was to have children. Although most women accepted this role and believed it was their duty to have children, not every woman was pleased with this seemingly confining role. Within the confines of this role there were also many misconceptions. At the time, most people believed that although male involvement was necessary for the conception of children, women controlled many aspects of the child, including the sex of the child. While it was a common belief that women controlled certain aspects of pregnancy, women really had no control over when and if they got pregnant. Prior to the eighteenth century there was really no indication of widespread use of birth control methods. Without reliable birth control, women would often become a mother within their first year of marriage and continue to have children every couple of years until menopause. Although women during this time period experienced high birth rates, they often did not end up raising nearly as many children as they gave birth to, since the infant mortality rate and death rate were very high. With such a high death rate, birth control was not as necessary as it would be in a more modern...

... middle of paper ...

... sixteenth and nineteenth centuries the role of mothers changed discreetly though significantly. Although the changes are not noticeably dramatic to most people today, these changes had a significant impact on the activities mothers performed as well as their quality of life. Although it can be argued that the most common role of mothers has always been to bear children, by the mid eighteen hundreds women began to have more choices on when and 0how often to have children. Another big change was that in later centuries women had the time and were encouraged to raise their children themselves rather than leaving their children to their own devices or sending them to be raised by strangers. While these changes in the roles of mothers are not the most obvious changes that occurred during this time period, they were certainly significant to all those that they affected.

More about Changes in the Role of Women Between the Sixteenth and the Twentieth Century

Open Document