Women's Life in 19th Century

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How far did life improve for women in the 19th century?

Life for women changed dramatically in the 19th century. They were given more rights, started to become more equal to men, and more of them were recognised for certain talents such as writing. The way women lived was improved across all areas of their actions, beginning the way women are treated now. The average woman was expected to have children, carry out everything around the house and do what she was told. Many people consistently attempted to demonstrate that women where just as equal to men, and that they should get rights identical to theirs. Over the centuries the change did steadily happen, but the most dramatic alterations were in the 19th century, and so below is information on how and what changed, why, the most important aspect out of everything that happened, and why it meant that women’s lives were transformed for good.

Why women’s lives were improved
Women did a variety of things in the 19th century to get the rights and changes they wanted. The goal they wanted to achieve more than anything else was the right to vote, and they did finally manage this, but to get there they did all sorts of things! For example; 1. Women protested time and time again, everywhere, anywhere and in front of whoever they thought they might get across to. 2. They also campaigned a lot outside of important buildings where the decision making all went on. 3.

Sports
In the 19th century women did very little sport as it was considered “Un-ladylike”. Two sports women were allowed to play were croquet and archery. The Change
In 1884, women played at Wimbledon for the first time. This meant women finally started to feel more accepted

Childbirth
Childbirth was for a long time painful. There were no available medications that could be taken to stop the struggle of giving birth, and so women just had to deal with it. The Change
When James Simpson (who was a Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University) started using chloroform to help pain during operations, it was a great help to women and the pain they were caused during childbirth. Although this began in 1847, some women were still hesitant about using it. They thought that childbirth was meant to be painful, but the uncertainty stopped when Queen Victoria insisted on having chloroform to help her give birth to her eighth child in 1853. Everybody copied what the queen did in the 19th century; nobody dared to disapprove of her actions.

Jobs
For women life was a constant uphill battle when it came to work. They were employed on farms and in factories as soon as they were old enough, and their wages were much lower than men’s. There were less jobs open to women, and so it was sometimes difficult to find work. The Change

In 1865 however, women started to become more noticed and were given the opportunity to become doctors, nurses or midwives. The first woman to do this was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who lived from 1836-1917. She was also the first woman in Britain to become mayor of a town (the town of Aldeburgh) in 1908. Other jobs also became open to women too such as dentistry. The first woman to do this was Lilian Murray in 1895. Architecture also became available to women, and so the first woman to do this was Ethel Charles in 1898.

Servants
At least 80% of the population in the 19th century were ranked as working class people. All you had to do to move up to middle class was own a servant. However this was not at all easy. Servants were expensive; especially male ones because men’s wages were a lot higher than women’s! “Service” as it was called, was what the majority of women were employed as.

Household
Men were clearly far more superior over women in the 19th century. A man’s wife and children were to respect and obey him, and he had control of all of the woman’s property-including the money she earned! The Change

But this all changed in 1882 when the married woman’s property act...
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