Medieval society was completely dominated by men, making a women’s life at the time difficult. Medieval law at the time stated that women could not marry without their parents consent, could not divorce their husbands, could not own property unless widows, could not inherit land if they had surviving brothers, and could own no business with special permission (Trueman, “Medieval Women”). When a woman married a man, he would get any property she owned and she would forfeit any rights she had to him. When the husband dies she would get one third of the land to live on and support herself. Unmarried women who owned land had the same rights as men (Hull).
All the mother cared about was if her daughters were going to get married. She would try to find men to marry her daughters. Being single back then women got looked down upon. The societal strictures on women played in marriage played a huge part in the story and marriages in the 1800s. In the story “Pride and Prejudice” women had many obligations and few choices.
In 1870, the Married Women’s Property Act meant that women were allowed to keep £200 of their earnings. Women such as Caroline Norton are what helped the campaign develop. After a court found that she was innocent of adultery, Caroline Norton’s husband left her and took their children, taking with him her inheritance. Because of the laws at that time, she had no real control over whether she was permitted to see her children, even when one of her sons died. She fought this, even though British law was against her as she was technically the property of her husband.
Development of the Campaign for Women’s Suffrage In 1870 neither working nor middle class women were recognised by the law and regarded the property of men whether it were their husband, father or brother. In 1773, Mary Wollstonecraft argued that women were kept child like within the family, uneducated and denied the right to shoulder responsibility. If for any reason a couple divorced, the women would be left with nothing as women had no legal existence. Working class women worked long hours in poor paid high health risk jobs, and were still expected to go home and carry out house chores. On the other hand, middle class women were expected to be a good housewife and produce heirs.
Women in Rome had always been able to own property, which was sometimes gained through the death of a parent who had no written will. However, they could not dispose of the property as they desired, women had to consult their guardian. Under Hadrian, legislation was passed allowing women to also be the legitimate heir to her son’s wealth and property if he died without a legal will; the stipulation to this was that she had to have three children or four if she was a freedwoman (Carcopino 76). Before this the inheritance would have originally fallen into the possession of the woman’s brothers, or other male relatives. This new law for woman inheritance reflects the shift from marking lineage by the male line to tracking lineage using the female line.
The husband had control of everything, and anything the wife owned was considered actually considered her husband’s property. However, in the eighteenth century the 1714 Law of Single Inheritance was passed that allowed women to sell her property without her husband’s consent if she chose to. There was much debate over this law, but it stood and opened the door for women to gradually gain more rights and equality in society (Marrese 383). During World War II the majority of Russia’s men went to fight leaving the women to take responsibility for the home as well as the jobs the men left behind. This gave women much more freedom and voice in society.
The roles of women as mothers also became more important in the republic, as patriarchy loosened and the nation depended on mothers to educate American children in the republican way. And finally, the role of women in politics was theoretically reduced due to the increasing demands of their domestic roles, but they managed to develop methods to convey their opinions. All three of these roles had setbacks for women in the republic, but there were also significant positive effects. Women became more valued in their domestic roles as wives and partners to their husbands, and their roles as mothers and educators of their children. Also, though politics and state affairs were very exclusive to men, women of the republic managed to find ways to have their voices heard.
The Development of Women's Campaign for Suffrage Before 1870 a majority of women in Britain were reliant on their nearest male relative for their means of livelihood. Women on the whole were thought of as second class citizens. Women had a poor education and they could not aspire to professional jobs such as doctors or lawyers which as a result only menial and low jobs were available to them; thousands of women were exploited for example seamstresses, servants, governesses and prostitutes. Legally if women were married their earnings or any personal property belonged to their husbands. Women once married could not get a divorce even if their husband beat and raped them.
Women were not allowed to own property or borrow money without the consent of their father or husband. It is on this foundation that Nora and Lizzie were able to use their weaknesses bestowed upon them ... ... middle of paper ... ... independence from men. Nora and Lizzie are two examples of women who defeated the patriarchal system on their own terms. They believed that women had rights outside of what were accepted by society and proved that women could achieve their rights in a patriarchal society. They believed in the concept of feminism a century before feminism was taken seriously by society.
Although women had more rights than in the past, the attitude in Victorian Britain was still that women should stay at home and look after their husbands. The culture of the time meant that very few women were skilled in an obvious profession and, therefore, there were hardly any jobs that paid them well. Even Queen Victoria, the most powerful woman in the world at the time -hardly did anything to help the cause of women. In 1870, she wrote "let women be what God intended, a helpmate for man, but with totally different duties and vocations." In the late 19th century, women wanted one very basic right -the right to vote.