History of Paternalistic and Maternalistic Views on Women's Livelihood

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Throughout history, a woman’s role was clearly defined to be a mother and dutiful wife to her husband. There was a time where women were considered to be less intelligent than men simply because they were women. However, this changed during the nineteenth century. Although women were still considered to be defined as mothers, they also sought out work as workers in factories and became more than just mothers and wives. In the nineteenth century, there was a shift in the view of women. They were given more of an education in order to prepare their sons to become better citizens. The reason was because the men had realized that woman needed to be better educated to teach the values of a good member of society to their children. This took place during the Revolution period. “Woman, wrote Benjamin Rush, needed to have a “suitable education” to enable them to “instruct their sons in the principles of liberty and government.” (Foner 2014). Benjamin Rush supported the right for women to receive educational opportunities. In the 19th century, there was a female reformatory network that had led to the distribution of some strong techniques that are normally practiced in prisons in order to maintain control. For example, techniques such as set periods of confinement, rigid timetables and compulsory labor into specialist institutions in the community. (Barton 2011) There, these methods were combined with 'familial' forms of regulation (i.e. domestic training, religious instruction, supervision and guidance) normally administered within the family home. (Barton 2011). They were known as reformatories, refuge and homes. (Barton 2011). They often brought together the divide that existed between formal state punishment and informal domesti... ... middle of paper ... ...n hours per day, although women could volunteer to work longer hours. (Tentler 1982)These various groups did help women factory workers live more comfortable lives. (Tentler 1982) Regardless of the awful working conditions and extremely low wages, factory work, no matter how dismal and unfair that it was, offered women the benefit of having additional opportunities and it gave them motivation to look for even greater political, economic, and social gains. (Tentler 1982). Works Cited Barton, Alana. 2011. "A Woman's Place: Uncovering Maternalistic Forms of Governance in the 19th Century Reformatory." Family & Communtiy History 89-104. Foner, Eric. 2014. Give Me Liberty. New York: W.W Norton & Company. Tentler, Leslie Woodcock. 1982. Ohio History Central. Accessed May 19, 2014. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Women_in_the_Industrial_Workforce?rec=1516

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