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The Status and Role of Women

Celebrating International Women’s Day by Debra Strange

The History of International Women’s Day
• This was first celebrated on 19th March 1911 but is now celebrated every 8th March. • Women join to celebrate the date that represents equality, justice,peace and development. • International Women’s Day is rooted in the struggle of women seeking to participate on an equal footing with men.

Who do we celebrate?
• Women who have advanced the status of women e.g. suffrage, education and equality. • Women who have shown humanitarian values. • Women who have helped in war on the field or at home. • All women and their rights to equality and fairness.

rich and poor. • Nuns were the only women to have an education. . owned nothing and were rarely educated. • Some tradeswomen and widows had rights.had no legal rights. • The majority of women .Women in the Middle Ages • Wealthy women looked after the estate if their husbands were away fighting.

g. • However women were thought of as less intelligent than men and once married any land or money became the property of their husbands. baking and textiles.Women in the Sixteenth Century • Elizabeth I ruled 1558-1603 – she was respected for her intelligence and skill in politics. . • Poor women were valued for the work they did e. They were also often involved in trades such as brewing. expected to share in the agricultural work with men.

• Aphra Behn was the first English woman to support herself through writing but her achievements were ridiculed. • Women were denied a classical education and Latin was needed to succeed at this time. • Astell drew up plans for a women’s college but it never went ahead. .Women in the Seventeenth Century • Upper class women started to learn to read and write and individuals like Aphra Behn and Mary Astell spoke out.

” . • Elizabeth I had encouraged learning among the ladies at court but James I had a poor opinion of women. He would not allow his own daughter to study Latin. He said “To make women learned and foxes tame had the same effect: to make them more cunning.The need for classics: Latin • One female traditional profession was nursing. No nurse or midwife could hope to become a doctor because Latin was the language of medicine.

• They had to learn to take over men’s work and proved their worth. • They became involved in political ideas and petitioned for release of political prisoners. • However after the war women were soon described as the ‘weaker sex’ being seen as delicate and pure. . They helped to defend homes and communities against attack.The English Civil War 1642-9 • Women played an active role in times of turmoil and great change. • From this time women writers had more work published.

• Middle class women did not work at all . . • The idea of a family wage developed with the man being paid more as the main support of the family.their interests were cut off from everything apart form the home and family. • Working class women were forced out into factories and single girls gained some independence but married women at home lost their chance to earn money. Workshops developed and machinery was invented to speed up production.The Eighteenth Century • During the 18th century Britain started to become industrialised. Society was becoming more urban than rural. The result was women were regarded as being incapable of serious discussion or thought and so were ‘protected’ from responsibilities such as voting or owning property.

. Unfortunately this led her to being criticised and her ideas dismissed by many. and for single women to earn their own living. • 1792 her book entitled Vindication of the Rights of Women argued for equal education.Mary Wollstonecraft • She was the first woman to demand votes for women. including women. • She fought hard for women even though she had much personal unhappiness.

• Encouraged to be ladies of leisure. mills and on the land doing dangerous jobs. • At the end of a working day women had to do all the family work. • Pale faces and delicate constitution were prized. . factories. Working Women • Some women worked in mines. • Single women were looked down upon and treated with contempt. obedient and the angel of the house. • Women were more strictly controlled with rules.The Victorian Age Fashionable Ladies • Fashion was stifling. women were corseted and more covered up than they had been for centuries. • Some worked in sweated labour at home. • In textiles mills they did the bulk of the work and were supervised by men who earned higher wages. • Meant to be gentle.

Rich Victorian Women .

Women in factories and mines .

• A woman could not vote. • The law said that children had one parent. • She could not get a divorce on grounds of adultery (although her husband could). Her property and goods all belonged to her husband.How Were Women Restricted? • Although rich women had an easier life they had a common denominator with poor women: they had no legal status. . a father. He decided on their education and if a couple separated he could refuse to let the mother even see them. • A woman could no go to university. A married woman’s earnings belonged to her husband. • It was almost impossible to get a divorce at all until 1857.

Caroline also wrote on making divorce laws fairer. She was unable to defend herself in court as she had no legal status. Caroline wrote on the Custody of Infants and had some effect: 1839 the bill said children under seven could stay with their mother if the courts agreed she had a good character. Her husband took her children and also all her earnings (she was a writer). .Caroline Norton Caroline had a brutal husband who accused her of adultery. Therefore she helped legal equality for women.

This resulted in an Acts of Parliament allowing women living with husbands or those separated to keep their own earnings By 1882 women could own their own property and give it to whoever she wished. .Barbara Bodichon Barbara supported the Married Women’s Property Bill in 1856.

• Men will make the right decisions for them. • If women have the vote they will upset the current order and cause unpleasant changes. • Women are physically too frail and weak to take on the burden of decision. • Women are incapacitated by frequent childbearing to bother to vote. .Voting: arguments used against women • Women are incapable of rational thought.

They were led by Millicent Fawcett. lobbied MPs and interrupted meetings.the Cat and Mouse Act.Winning the Vote • 1897 local groups working for women’s voted joined into the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).they picketed minister’s houses. During World War One suffragettes turned their energy to getting women to help the war effort. Women started to get praise for their war work and the Daily Mail supported their claim for the vote. This meant they released starving women and then arrested them again when they were well. Women at last had a voice in the way the country was governed. 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Support grew rapidly . • • • • • • . In 1928 women at last got the vote on equal terms with men. After 1909 the WSPU stepped up pressure and used more violence. Some women started hunger striking and the government decided they should be force fed 1913 they used another plan .

Emmeline Pankhurst and the WSPU • Deeds not words was the famous motto of the WSPU. • She campaigned all her life to improve the rights of women. . • Often went to jail as a result of the Cat and Mouse Act.

The National Union of Womens Suffrage • Millicent Fawcett .

The Cat and Mouse Act .

. • 1860 Florence Nightingale set up her Nursing School.The Right to Education • Right to education gradually improved over the 19th century. • Emily Davies worked to get teacher training for women • By the end of the century different job opportunities arose with secretarial work and work in department stores. • 1876 a law was passed which allowed medical schools to admit women as students to train as doctors. • Frances Buss and Dorothea Beale set up colleges where girls could be prepared for university education and for the professions.

women behind the lines. .Women involved in War • Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole: services to nursing in the 19th century. • Women and the Home Front:duties in both World Wars working with munitions. land army etc. in civil defence. • Medecins Sans Frontieres -a group who provide humanitarian aid in war zones. • Mabel Stobart and the Women’s National Service League (led nursing groups in Serbia in 1912) • Elsie Ingells and her women’s team in the front line in World War One • WWI resistance group the White Lady Group • Nurse Edith Cavell’s bravery helping wounded soldiers (executed for her actions) • Special Operations Executive in WWII .

They work in dangerous conditions rising their lives. .Medecins Sans Frontieres • An international humanitarian aid organisation providing emergency medical aid in more than 80 countries.

• Involved in improving military hospitals • Used health statistics effectively • Hospital planning • Community nursing.Florence Nightingale • Worked as a nurse in the Crimean and drastically reduced the death rate. . • Introduced nursing as a profession and started a nursing school.

.Mary Seacole • A nurse who used herbs and natural remedies. • Self funded to go to the Crimean and nurse soldiers on the battlefield a true ‘field’ nurse attending the wounded on the front line • Sometimes called the ‘forgotten Nightingale’.

Women in WWI and WWII Munitions factory .

. political reform and charities. There are many areas to consider including health and education.Other women of note Here are a few women who have made a valuable contribution to our world today. the environment.

India. She was revered as a living saint for her work and won the Nobel Peace Prize. .Mother Theresa A Catholic nun who devoted her life to caring for the poor and sick in Calcutta.

Marie Curie • She won two Nobel prizes for her work in science. • Discovered radium with her husband Pierre • In WWI she equipped ambulances with mobile X ray units and drove them to the front lines • Her work helped X rays in surgery • Her research led to treatment of cancer by radiation. .

Elizabeth Fry • Looked at prison reform at in the 19th century. Ensured children got fed and clothed and had some schooling. • Started a nursing course – the sisters of Mercy(influenced Nightingale) . Improved conditions for all.

The world today • Women have made • Your task now. International women’s Day. . huge advances in Come up with some equality especially heroines of your own over the last one and produce a mini hundred years. PowerPoint on why • Consider the history or they should be women and how far remembered on we have come.