The story of Emma Woodhouse, written by Jane Austen, was published in 1815 and characterizes the life and customs of that time. Emma clearly stands out from her social circle with her daring willfulness, mockery, and energy, the desire to act. However, the freedom of this heroine is truly exceptional against the backdrop of the social role women occupied in early 19th century Britain.
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Despite the general academic notion that women have neither had access to science nor made significant contributions to it in the past, this can be refuted. The romantic period at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries was marked by the voyages of three women seafarers who visited the Caribbean, South America, and Madeira, respectively (Thompson, 2019). All three travelers also searched hard for ways to get around the restrictions that stood in their way. Women also signed up for Protestant Christianization missions in colonized countries (Bowie, 2021). The situation developed in such a way that in the 19th century women did not have the right to engage in science, and in a broad sense, since science remained a stronghold of men. However, the growth of the prestige of science and its influence on the world in itself determined the interest of emancipated women in it.
At the beginning of the 19th century, women begin to assert their rights much more often than domestic and maternal responsibilities. One of the reasons for emancipation may be the issue of labor – it can be assumed that with the development of capitalist relations, society needed more laborers. By receiving wages in factories, women actually gained independence of a non-symbolic plan. The French Revolution also influenced the image of a woman as a person with rights and opinion due to the creation of associations where women were accepted (Crenn, 2019). In addition to fighting for their rights, women of that century actively campaigned for the rights of animals (Donald, 2019). The key work that shaped the image of a free woman from the pages of Jane Austen is Mary Wollstonecraft’s work in defense of women’s rights. A woman should not be a toy in the hands of a man – this is what becomes the basis of the personal beginning of a woman in English society at the beginning of the 19th century.
Bowie, F. (2021). Women and missions: Past and present: Anthropological and historical perceptions. Bloomsbury.
Crenn, H. (2019). Legitimizing the role of women in the process of state building in post-revolutionary France. International Journal on Rule of Law, Transitional Justice and Human Rights 10, 67-75
Donald, D. (2019). Women against cruelty: Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain. Manchester University Press.
Thompson, C. (2019). Women travellers, romantic-era science and the Banksian empire. Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science 73(4).
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