Focus Question: What steps were taken to advance the rights of women in the mid-1800s?
Roots of the Women’s Rights Movement Women lacked basic rights in the early 1800s ◦ Could not own property ◦ Could not vote ◦ Could not go to school ◦ Could not enter the professions
Separate Spheres Genders had particular roles to play ◦ Men expected to work outside the home ◦ Wives expected the manage the household Responsible for raising children Responsible for raising “republican” sons Republican Motherhood Crucial Role for Mothers
Cult of Domesticity “Cult of True Womanhood” Genders had their proper places ◦ Men are rough, strong, savage, suited for the world of work ◦ Women are calm, nurturing, refined, suited for the home. The woman’s place was in the home A woman could only be fulfilled if she was a wife and mother.
Challenges Large numbers of working-class women ◦ “Lowell girls” had economic independence Second Great Awakening ◦ Women took leadership positions in reform groups ◦ Proper “sphere” for women
Reforms came slowly Schools slowly opened for women ◦ Few coeducational Growth of women’s health ◦ Development of Women and Children’s Hospitals ◦ The “Bloomer”
Women’s Rights Movement Sparked by a slight ◦ Women took a leading role in reform movements, especially abolition ◦ Many attended an international conference on abolition in London Refused entry to the main floor Infuriated leader female reformers
Seneca Falls Convention Women’s Rights Convention held in 1848 ◦ Promoted a series of women’s issues Property rights Health Education ◦ Promoted Suffrage Shocked the nation
Declaration of Sentiments Patterned after the Declaration of Independence Called for voting rights for women Developed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton