Howwomen have been perceived and treated in the society has changed alot from the olden days. The contemporary woman can confidentlyproclaim that the rights and liberties are more adhered to comparedto the elapsed periods. Apparently, the roles and responsibilities ofmen and females differed entirely, and it took a lot of time for thesociety to embrace the notion that women too can do a number of tasksthat are usually done by men. Even though the developed world hasseen consistent improvement regarding gender equity, other republics,especially in the developing countries, are still a bit left behind.Developments are still underway in the course to establish a systemthat recognizes women as an essential part of the society.
Inthe era before the Civil War, women were barely known so much as tohold certain positions in the community. Even though Christianityexisted in those days, they were not allowed to hold pastoral orchurch offices. Additionally, very few women had the heart to darestand in front of people and speak in a meeting. An example of suchtreatment is evident when the first woman by the name SojournerTruth, walked to the pulpit to speak [ CITATION Car95 l 1033 ].Many were not amused with this event but eventually, the messagepaved way for the beginning of women’s rights.
Theyears before the civil war, voting was an exercise that was entirelyconfined to men only. Women had no part in the casting of votes andthus their opinion regarding political issues were never representedin the process. After the war, things began to change including theconstitution. Some states amended their law which allowed the femalesto participate in elections. However, the issues that arose from thischange were evident when an uprising emerged conflicting theinvolvement of women in politics. Although many a woman believed theywere eligible, they turned out in considerable numbers to vote, butsome were turned away. Some people were not happy with this turnoutand challenged them in federal courts. Despite this rejection, somestates allowed them to participate in the polls freely without anyform of hindrance [ CITATION USH16 l 1033 ].
Theperceived roles of the woman were confined to the household. Thefunctions of the 19th-century woman were allocated specifically tocooking, cleaning, taking care of the children and other familyactivities. The character of a real woman in those times was definedin 4 aspects namely, virtue, purity, submissiveness and domesticity.All these attributes strongly indicate that the wife was supposed tobe the one who would maintain orderliness in the home. Also, shewould depend on the man wholly for all other things includingprotection, financial security, and social status. By being dependenton the husband, the woman’s role was thus limited to the home and awoman who did this without flaw was highly regarded in the society [ CITATION Cat98 l 1033 ].On the other hand, a woman who indulged in other activities outsideof the household chores was lowly considered. Genderissues as well as the changes in the economic and religious views ledto a challenge in the traditional viewpoints of family life.
Thereal conditions and lived experiences of women have been coined bymost as slavery. The way a woman was supposed to carry herself andher responsibilities were pushed to extremes. Examples have beennarrated concerning women’s purity and piety for instance notmentioning words like undergarments in their presence. As statedbefore civil rights were not availed to them and therefore, they wereslaves to the male domination in a way. Apparently, most of themarriages were forced by parents with no space given for one tochoose the husband she wanted. The suffering felt by the foreignwomen, and especially the colored ones seem to be greater than thoseof white and upper-class women [ CITATION Cat07 l 1033 ].Sorrowful events have been recited regarding their experiencesincluding the coerced snatching of children into slavery and forcedlabor which, ironically was done by both men and women. The view thatmen were superior further fuelled this treatment, making thesituation worse. The injustices involved harassment and contempt ofthe women who tried to venture out into the man’s territory. Insummary, what the female went through can be described as a life thatwas pitiful, restrained and subjected to the extent that theirpotential was not achieved. Additionally, religious injustices alsosuppressed them, limiting their participation and sometimes evenentry to worship places like the mosques[ CITATION The10 l 1033 ].
Accessto jobs and business were not present there was no proper channelfor a woman to own property and denial of education. Worse still, thesociety had put in place different moral codes and standards wherebyif a woman fell from the high esteem held she would not rise. Men, onthe other hand, could engage in diverse activities yet not lookeddown upon. The list goes on and on, and the enlistment of theinequalities by the Woman’s rights convention held in Seneca Fallsin 1948 illustrate, there was a complete state of oppression,harassment and domination [ CITATION Mat30 l 1033 ].
Itis clear that the experiences of women differed to a considerableextent depending on the social class. Foreign women and the blackpopulation felt the effects more compared to their white middle-classcounterparts. One black woman narrates how she endured forced laborand in the end lost her children to the slave trade. Rapid changes inthe cultural practices somehow raised the social status of whitewomen, especially in the moral spheres. Although middle-class womenwere also restricted to the domestic sphere, their social power was atad higher than those from the minority groups. There is substantiveevidence that points out this truth from Sojourners words that inthat period, it is only the white women of European descent who couldbe regarded as faithful women and exhibiting the four characteristicsthat had been mentioned earlier. On the opposite side, the immigrantwomen, those whose husbands and fathers were farmers and the last lotwho accompanied their spouses to the frontier had a different storyto tell [ CITATION USH16 l 1033 ].Their necessities were barely taken care of, and their sad lifeovershadowed the niceties that at least some of the white women hadaccess.
Alot has changed since the inception of the rights that protect thewelfare of women. Each day, new laws and policies are being developedto ensure that inclusion of both genders has been achieved. Eventhough much has been established, a state of contentment has not beenfully attained. It is possible that the ideals that defined truewomanhood have considerably affected almost all aspects of AmericanCulture.
Beecher, Catherine Esther. A Treatise on Domestic Economy. New York: Harper & Brothers, 2007.
Carey, Matthew. "Rules for Husbands and Wives." 1830. United States Resource Center. Document. 10 June 2016.
Lavender, Catherine. Notes on The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood. Staten Island: The College of Staten Island, 1998.
Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth, Slave, Prophet, Legend. New York: New York University Press, 1995. Book.
The State University of New Jersey. Address by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Woman`s Rights. August 2010. Document. 10 June 2016.
U.S History. New Roles for White Women. n.d. Website. 10 June 2016.