1865-1914-A Woman’s Place
The impact of the civil war
-The Civil War (1861-1865) had briefly offered married women the opportunity to work outside the home. In the vast rural areas of the US this was largely agricultural work as women replaced the men who had gone to war. Many women also worked as nurses in the war, but this was not seen as a profession by many, but rather an extension of their domestic work that was appropriate for a woman. Progress for women in medicine beyond the level of nursing was limited.
-By the late 1860’s medical colleges had strict controls on the number of women they admitted and allowed to graduate, largely as a result of opposition from male physicians. ...view middle of the document...
Here, living in isolation from communities and frequently at distance from main lines of communication, married women were cooks, cleaners, nurses, teachers, farm laborers, yet many died in childbirth due to the lack of medical care or became depressed as a result of loneliness.
-However some at least had been given the opportunity to own land in their own right with the 1862 Homestead Act.
Women and Work 1865-1914
-The closing decades of the 19th century and the decade and a half before WWI saw a period of change and opportunity for women occurred by a number of reasons:
-By the turn of the century opportunities for working-class women expanded as a result of a growth in the manufacturing industry. These changes largely benefited unmarried women between 1870 and 1900. Whereas in 1870 13% of all unmarried women worked outside the home, by 1900 the number of women workers tripled and so made 17% of the total workforce. Young, unmarried women, left domestic service for more lucrative work in the textile, garment making and food processing industries in most major cities.
-By the 1890’s unmarried women with a high school education could graduate from the factory floor to the clean, safe and more salubrious offices of business enterprises. The invention and production of the typewriter and telephone transformed this area of work, previously dominated by men....