Society in the Victorian Age did not see that it was necessary for women to have an education. The only source of education for women was often found in wealthier people who could hire a governess to teach, but still the education that was being taught was usually about manners and responsibility. Women were still thought of as the underdog to men. In 1850 education began to pick up for women. As it is stated by Wukovits (2013), “North London Collegiate School was the first to operate for girls, and within twenty years more such places appeared in other cities, including schools that offered courses in nursing and technology” (p. 5) There were still some schools during this time that were offered to women, but they were still prejudiced toward women.
In the Victorian era, there were often two separate spheres that are referred to and they were the women’s sphere and men’s sphere, also known as the domestic sphere. The women managed the private sphere or the home, and the men went out into the public sphere to work. The different spheres were a big part of society in this part of the Victorian age. Women in the private sphere allowed history to see that women were discriminated against in this era.
Discrimination toward women makes their accomplishments and fight for rights even more remarkable. The other side, the public sphere, shows how men have always had it easier than women. They were given the rights to go outside of the home to work, and they had more opportunities that were often just given to them. It is extremely important to note the obstacles that women faced in the Victorian era, because the domestic sphere made it difficult to break away from the social norms. Women were homemakers in the privacy of the home, and men were the exact opposite.
It was often found that men were making money and were working outside of the home. Victorian women and men were sought to be perfect if they were married and obtained their separate spheres. The article “The Emergence of Women’s Sphere” (n. d. ) stated the following: A true man was concerned about success and moving up the social ladder. He was aggressive, competitive, rational, and channeled all of his time and energy into his work. A true woman, on the other hand, was virtuous. Her four chief characteristics were piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity.
She was the great civilizer who created order in the home in return for her husband’s protection, financial security and social status. (Para 2) There was always great attention paid regarding the two separate spheres that were to be obtained. It was crucial to the development and structure of the Victorian era. It is nothing new to talk about the discrimination that is still shown today toward women. To much surprise, discrimination has been around for a long time. In the period of Victorian Britain the gender roles in society often discriminated against women.
This discrimination was based off of the ideas that women were the underlying sex when it came to physicality and intellect. Women were looked at as homemakers, taking care of the children, cooking meals, and attending to household needs. Education and all teaching aspects for children to learn were women’s responsibility. Serving the children and the spouse of the family was looked at as the woman’s job. Essentially, women were the primary caregivers in the household. The ideology of the Victorian woman was to be a wife and a mother. Ultimately, women in this time were facing forms of slavery.
They were treated as a source of property. Once a woman was married to her husband, she had essentially no rights. The man owned the women and it was even considered legal to partake in marital rape and beatings. Even women who came from wealth were property of their husband (Yildirim, n. d. , Para. 1-5). As the Victorian era progressed new work became available, male skilled laborers were resistant to changes of new technology or work patterns. This opened the door for female workers to enter the workforce. In addition, this opportunity took work away from male workers, due to cheaper female labor rates (Hudson, 2011, Para. ). Most women in the Victorian Age found work in the area of domestic service or in the textile and clothing industries. According to Hudson (2011), “domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women (40 percent of female occupations stated in the census of 1851 in provincial cities and 50 percent in London). The textile and clothing sectors came a close second “(Para 10). Single women were not the only women to work in the Victorian Age. It was common for married women to work for wages. In the Victorian era, it was not uncommon for married women to work and continue to do much of the housework.
Often women who did this were considered to be taking part in a double burden. Allowing women to take part in the workforce was a huge step in the Victorian era. Women who took part in the workforce often wanted even more rights to eliminate discrimination (Hudson, 2011, Para. 9). It is obvious that women in this era were deprived of their rights. When the women’s suffrage movement began, women started to fight for the rights they wanted. The women’s suffrage movement was the center point in the changing of the Victorian women’s rights. Parliament had a strict system in the nineteenth century regarding women and political matters.
Voting by women was forbidden, and the voting was left for some men. Believe it or not, not all men were given the rights to vote. Men who were allowed to vote had to belong to a social class that was acceptable and liked. In ways this discriminated men, but nothing compares to the discrimination that women faced. Because of the Industrial Revolution employment for women had increased, leading to more opportunities for women to be involved in political and social problems. In 1866 campaigning began for women’s rights. It took until 1888 to pass the laws to allow women to ote. John Suart Mill was the man to propose the law to allow women to vote. The amendment was first rejected. As the suffrage movement gained momentum, the whole focus of it was centered on women’s rights to vote. Collecting votes for women was important and there were two sides, the suffragists and the suffragettes (“The Women’s Suffrage Movement,” n. d. , p. 1). Millicent Fawcett is likely known as the leader of the Nation Union of Women’s Suffrage Society (NUWSS). This group was composed of the suffragists. The suffragists were the first of the two groups to emerge.
Comprised of mainly middle class people, the suffragists had a goal to come together to make a name for themselves. The NUWSS allowed the suffragists to be heard. They went about their ideas by participating in peaceful petitioning. It was important for the organization to stay lawful, so that women could be seen as respectful and hopefully be given the right to have a say in the politics. Working class women were in high demand by the suffragist because with their support they had an even better voice. It was difficult to get women to come together in society.
Women were stuck in their own circle of people, but to allow the women’s suffrage movement to be successful the women had no choice but to come together. In the 1900s parliament began to see progression in the fight for women to vote. Many members were getting on board with the idea of allowing women the right to vote. It wouldn’t be long before they gained the right to vote (“The Women’s Suffrage Movement,” n. d. , p. 2). In 1903 the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed. Suffragettes belonged to the WSPU and this group of women wanted to take quicker action to get rights.
Most suffragettes were part of the suffragists before they made the switch. The article “The Women’s Suffrage Movement” states that the motto of the suffragettes was, “Deeds not words and from 1912 onwards they became more militant and violent in their methods of campaign. Law-breaking, violence and hunger strikes all became part of this society’s campaign tactics. ” Emmeline Pankhurst was the founder of WSPU and very determined activist who believed in the group. Young working class women would account for most of the organizations members. By 1907 the Union had broke off into two groups.
Some people had left to form the Women’s Freedom League; Pankhurst stayed in close with the WSPU and worked to improve that organization. In just a few years all of the groups fighting for women’s rights would be working together. The WSPU became very successful and even launched a newspaper that sold very well. It was not uncommon for suffragettes to be arrested for their protests, but that did not stop them. During the war, the suffrage movement gained a lot of focus and therefore it was ruled that people were no longer allowed to protest. This decision was made in hopes to increase unity.
This makes it so obvious that all women were in the right, to want the same rights as men (“The Women’s Suffrage Movement,” n. d. , p. 3). The women’s suffrage movement is still a highly discussed topic today. Each union had a different way of influencing woman’s rights, but the NUWSS is often undercredited. Women often were found switching from suffragettes to suffragists. The WSPU kept the cause for the women’s rights high. Of course as World War I came about in 1914 the suffrage movement was pushed to the back burner. The activities came to a halt, because the nation was now facing an intense threat (“The Women’s Suffrage Movement,” n. . , p. 4).
In essence, the Victorian era was the turning point for women’s rights. Dating back all the way to Queen Victoria and the industrial revolution, the role of women in the family, the workforce, and society have dramatically evolved into the independent woman of today. The industrial revolution provided new opportunities for women in the workforce, and today many women hold positions that previously men would have. Positions were usually male dominated in the Victorian era, because women and men belonged to separate spheres. Many times in today’s culture, the roles of men and women are reversed.
Today, education is not only available, but also required of everyone. There has been major progress for women in education, and often they are the people who continue education to the highest level. Men can be found doing domestic household duties, and women may be a primary provider of income. Voting rights for women were obtained through the suffrage movement. Today, women are even allowed to run for public offices. In fact, there is a woman candidate for the presidency of the United States. Without the events that occurred during the Victorian era, women would not have overcome all the obstacles that t ve to