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The Women’s Status: Changes in the Late 19th – Early 20th Century

The fight for sex-based rights and the struggle against regressive gender stereotypes has been a long and devastating journey for women. However, over time, significant improvements in the status of women and the extent of their agency have been made. In the late 19th – early 20th century, women’s liberation movement gained a particularly powerful momentum, leading to them gaining substantial economic rights and personal freedoms (Carvalho et al. 121). By gaining the opportunity to earn a salary and the ability to manage their money independently from their husbands or male family members, women managed to obtain a substantial extent of personal freedom, which also led to the expansion of individual rights, particularly, the right for self-actualization.

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Considering specific examples that prove the tremendous effect of women winning their economic rights, one should bring up the case of the Shirtwaist Workers Strike, during which women gathered to protest the infringement upon their rights and demand better workplace conditions (Draper and Mason-Deese 687). Therefore, the described change in women’s economic freedom also implied greater awareness of the opportunities that it provided, particularly, the employment options and the chance to become financially independent.

Having obtained the right to be employed and manage their own finances in the late 19th – early 20th century, women gradually gained financial independence from men in their lives and, therefore, received an opportunity to make individual progress along with legal and social one. The described change, while seemingly minor, signified the end to being financially dependent on men in their lives for multiple women in the U.S. and Western Europe, which, in turn, caused the women’s liberation movement to gain momentum. Therefore, the change in question, while being seemingly minor, was, in fact, a massive improvement in the social status of women and their opportunities.

Works Cited

Carvalho, Isabel Cristina, Christiane Heemann, and Teresa Oliveira. “Feminist Activism Through the Arts in Late 19th Century and Early 20th Century.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, vol. 22, no. 3, 2021, pp. 120-131.

Draper, Susana, and Liz Mason-Deese. “Strike as Process: Building the Poetics of a New Feminism.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 117, no. 3, 2018, pp. 682-691.

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StudyCorgi. "The Women’s Status: Changes in the Late 19th – Early 20th Century." September 27, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-womens-status-changes-in-the-late-19th-early-20th-century/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Women’s Status: Changes in the Late 19th – Early 20th Century." September 27, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-womens-status-changes-in-the-late-19th-early-20th-century/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Women’s Status: Changes in the Late 19th – Early 20th Century'. 27 September.

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