The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain Since 1900

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The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain Since 1900

Before the Victorian era, women were deemed very much as second class

citizens; any idea of women being anywhere near as equal to men would

be having been thought ridiculous before this era. But the Victorian

era was one of innovation and change, everything was questioned;

religion, society and the idea of women being equal to men. But would

British politics surely allow women the vote, many men thought that if

women were allowed to vote, they might have been kicked out of office

due to sheer weight of numbers.

The idea of women suffrage began during the 1800s when many powerful

land owners who were women thought why they should not have the vote

when they are just as powerful and influential as many men.

Entering this world at the same time was the lady philanthropist who

wanted to go on a journey of self discovery; they found that going out

to help people instead of remaining in their so called "domestic

havens" was so much more fulfilling. They were involved with many

different jobs like Sunday school, maternity help and also giving

lectures to the not so educated members of the poor community. Many of

them began to want to change things, and of course to do that they

needed power, they needed the vote.

Men during this time had very traditional ideas of what role a woman

should play in society during this time, women were the head of the

house hold, and therefore they were in charge of the domestic side of

the men's life. Three things which really defined women and their role

in life were family, motherhood and respectability. This is what their

lives would revolve around; motherhood was particularly important as

it was the mother who was responsible for the child's upbringing and

to certain limits their education, daughters especially were taught

how to behave like a respectable lady and tell her what her priorities


It was this strong belief of how women should behave that set back the

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