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Equality Essay Research Paper In 1890 less

Equality Essay, Research Paper In 1890, less then one half of one percent of women were employed gainfully outside of the home. Over the next hundred years, women have not only gained access to jobs outside of the

Equality Essay, Research Paper

In 1890, less then one half of one percent of women were

employed gainfully outside of the home. Over the next hundred

years, women have not only gained access to jobs outside of the

home, but also fought for equality in the work place. These

struggles have not been easy by any means. Women have overcome

many obstacles in there journey into the work force, none grater

then the views of their male piers. Many males thought and

continue to think that there is no place for women in the work

place. Women made there strides into the work force by not only

following examples of their courageous pioneers, but also by

banding together to show their strength.

During the mid 1800’s a small number of women begin their

assault on, what were at the time considered, male-only jobs.

Fields such as teaching, preaching, medicine, and law were all

jobs domenated by men. Women had made some progress in the work

force before the 1850’s. In the mid nineteenth century women

were the majority for grade school teachers, up from the ten

percent of elementary teachers, that were teachers in the

colonial period. This can be largely attributed not to the fact

that men were more accepting of the idea that women belonged in

the work place, but rather men were drown to the higher paying

and more socially appreciated managerial jobs brought on by the

industrial revolution. School boards did not mind these talented

leaving because they could higher a “less qualified women” for as

low as one fifth of males salary for the same job.

Susan B. Anthony was the first women to publicly speak out

against this gross injustice towards women. After being fired to

“replace a male teacher fired for incompetence,she was paid one

third of the salary he had received,”(Reifert 74)she went to the

state teachers convention of 1853 to register a protest. After

being hushed once and a half hour of debate she was finally

allowed to speak her peace. Although nothing became of her first

encounter with the women’s movement, she quit teaching and went

on to become one of the great leaders of the women’s movement.

Antoinette Brown was anther women that was not happy

with the status quo of women in society. She started, in 1846,

by attending Oberlin college, which only nine years before had

become the first co-educational college. Oberlin, although being

very receptive of women in their women’s department, they did not

let women take any courses besides the ones offered in the women

department. This lead to a conflict when Brown made her

intentions of obtaining a theology degree known. Brown won the

battle to attend the classes she needed for her degree, but this

was by far not the last battle for equality she would have to

fight. Oberlan “refused to grant her a students license to

preach.,” and after her course work was completed Oberlan would

not ” allow her to take part in the graduation ceremony, be

licensed, ordained, or even have her name registered on the class

roll.”(Reifert 76) It took three years, of hard looking for

Brown to find a Protestant Church that would allow her to be

ordained. Finally after all of her struggles Antoinette Brown

was ordained the first protestant female minister in America.

“Women in the early 1800’s were discriminated against both

as practitioner and as patient.”(Reifert 77) Women were thought

that it was wrong for them to seek help from doctors for any

problems that had anything remotely to do with their reproductive

system. It was also thought that Women were to fragile to deal

with the work that goes with being a doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell

saw first hand the effects of the first problem mentioned. She

watched a family friend die because she was embarrassed to bring

her problem to the attention of her male doctor. Blackwell was

not detoured by the Idea that no medical school would take her,

because she could not compete with males. After all almost

everyone at the time believed that “the female brain was

different then the male brain.”(Reifert 78) Blackwell finally

gained admittance to Geneva College after a unanimous vote of the

student body to let her in. This vote should not be taken as a

sign that men were becoming more accepting of women infiltrating

what was formally known as male only territory. It should be

noted that most of the students believed that either the vote was

a joke or that Blackwell would not stay around long. Blackwell

proved all the skeptics wrong by graduating in the top of her

class, but still no hospital in the United States would allow her

to intern. For her internship Blackwell went to Paris. When She

got back to the United States Blackwell found that no hospital

would allow her to use their facilities. In 1857 she secured

enough money to turn facility into a hospital. Similar to

doctors, nurses were largely male until the 1850’s. Nursing

followed a similar path as elementary teachers, as more higher

paid jobs opened up, it left room for women to take over less

glamorous jobs.

In the early nineteenth century lawyers were thought by

apprenticeship. This was a very big problem for women that had

an interest in this field, because no men lawyers would ever

dream of having a female apprentice. The emergence of law

schools made the job of a lawyer remotely accessible, but by no

means easy. Such is the case of Myra Bradwell, who graduated

from Chicago School of law, but was refused a license to practice

law by the Illinois State Bar. She took her battle to the

Supreme Court, by was ruled against. After her ruling was

overturned in 1890 at the age of 59, she became a licensed lawyer

and two years latter practiced law in front of the same court

that had refused her rights 23 years earlier.

Before these women had broken into these previously all male

jobs women’s jobs four general limitations. They are “(1) that

women perform work similar to that of the home; (2) that no

great skill be involved…; (3) that no great physical strength

be required…; (4) that the work should not involve contacts

with the rougher male sex…”(Riegel 135) Contrary to the

Desires of their employers to maintain their workers femininity,

the women, they provided their employees with very adverse

working conditions. “The conditions under which most women were

described by an on looker :

girls take off their street suits

and put on an old skirts and waists

matted with glue dirt, in which the

spend ten hours a day scorning,

cutting and sniping, wetting great

sheets of paper and paste… at a

few cents a day”

(Cantarow xxvii)

Women at time made around half of what their male counterparts

made. While male unions were proving very successful in the

advancement in working conditions for men, but most unions had

little interest in helping women’s causes. For this reason,in

1903 the WTUL (Women’s trade Union league) was launched. This

helped Women unite to achieve better working conditions. The

WTUL was very influential in the organization and support of the

major women’s strikes.

Women fought many hard battles to gain access to areas that

were at on time strictly off limits to them and fought hard to

improve their working conditions. With out the struggles of

these women other women might not have the rights they have

today.

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