By Susan Steider & Mallory Grams Table of Contents

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Social History 1500-2000



FRQ: Compare and analyze the roles of women though out history. How have they changed from the 16th century to the 21st? What European events could have changed the way women were treated?
The difficulties surrounding women throughout history are ones that are tragic and are ones that are somewhat still prominent in today’s society. Going all the way back to the 16th and 17th century will show a tradition that formed in women’s lives that still shows hints of in modern times. Women go from prostitution to protesting for the right to vote. Where did it all start, and has it ended?

The married women of the 1500’s were strong tough women. They were in charge of maintaining the household, which included cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children as well as the farm animals, if there were any. They not only did this but they also helped with their husbands business. The wives involvements in activities that were social or in public were not aloud it was considered inappropriate. They were merely there, they had to be submissive and have the knowledge that men rule, and that was just way it was. As for the single women, there were only a handful that were privileged enough to have some sort of education. The other ninety-five percent were working as a servant in wealth household, butchers, nurses, or midwives. Prostitution was also a common route that was taken by single workingwomen.

As the European people move into the 18 and 19th century women become more involved. They become more involved in the sense that they are starting to stand up for their rights. they would hold protests and rally’s; people like Mary Wollstonecraft came into the picture, her and many others created feminist campaigns and were acknowledged for it. Although they were standing up for them selves the lives of married women were still the same. The mother and wife would tend to the household, but unlike that of the 16th century the man and the women split up the household duties amongst themselves making it more even. Marriage had become more about love rather than profit, and women benefited from this. It wasn’t until 1804 when the Napoleonic code was made and had given women legal rights. Later in 1882 the women fought and won, they were given legal rights to own property and to vote, a law passed in the 1820’s. Things were starting to look up and to move forward as they got closer to the turn of the century.

As people were pushed into two World Wars in such a small period of time, women had to make up for the lack of testosterone roaming around. Women had to rely on themselves to get food on the table for their family. As life progressed our of the war and into a time of peace in the 50’s, time seemed to have traveled back a little bit. Women were again looked at as nothing but a housewife; there to put food onto the table and to help the children do their homework. The 1950’s and 60’s were know as the time of Barbi-doll housewife, what every little girl played when they were little. Although it took a while for the women and the rest of the world to catch up women came around in the 80’s and made their own statement in the business world. They could form their own companies, or move up on the corporate ladder.

Women today in the 21st century are not ones to be riffled with they have proven them selves over and over to their fellow male co-workers. But, even though the people of this world are living in such a prejudice free world, there is still that question of whether it is all that prejudice free. This world where women are still paid less then men, even when holding the same job title with the same education. European women have come a long way since the 1500’s but are still sometimes stuck in the past.

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