Changing Role of Women Since 1865

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The Changing Role of Women Since 1865
“It can be said that the feminist movement has resulted in action and legislation; that in consciousness-raising it has found a new technique and self-realization; that at its very best it has counseled that men as well as women should be able to do and to be whatever they wish- and that if this involves men staying at home while women work, so be it” (Banner, 1974, p. 250). Women have come a long way since the late 1800s. They have fought many hard battles to change the way they were viewed in American society and have achieved much over the decades. The movement of women’s rights and being treated as an equal to men has been part of history for well over 100 years as women fought to be heard by obtaining a higher education, equality in the job market and in the voting booth.
“Before the Civil War women could attend only three private colleges. After the war they had new ones all their own, among them Smith (1871), Wellesley (1875), and Bryn Mawr (1885)” (Davidson et al., 2008, p. 587). In the 1920s, a woman with a college education was part of a small advantaged group. The female students were discriminated against and in some cases, were asked to withdraw from courses so that a man could take her place in the classroom. Women were not taken seriously in the college setting. Men were the ones with the bachelor’s or master’s degrees at a rate of two to one. However, by 1970 this rate did change. For every five men that received their bachelor’s or master’s degrees, there would be four women who had earned theirs. (Marx Ferree & Hess, 1994, p. 7). Sadly, women were told that they “simply could not do college work; they did not have minds like those of men” (Woody, 1966, p.154). Even though “…Harvard opened in 1636, the first college to admit women did not do so for another 200 years. Women did not begin…...

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