Workplace[ edit ] When Britain went to war, as before in World War Ipreviously forbidden job opportunities opened up for women.
Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women's most significant professions. In the 20th century, however, women in most nations won the right to vote and increased their educational and job opportunities.
Perhaps most important, they fought for and to a large degree accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their role in society. Early Attitudes Toward Women Since early times women have been uniquely viewed as a creative source of human life.
Historically, however, they have been considered not only intellectually inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. In Greek mythology, for example, it was a woman, Pandora, who opened the forbidden box and brought plagues and unhappiness to mankind. Early Roman law described women as children, forever inferior to men.
Early Christian theology perpetuated these views. Jerome, a 4th-century Latin father of the Christian church, said: In ancient India, for example, women were not deprived of property rights or individual freedoms by marriage.
But Hinduism, which evolved in India after about BC, required obedience of women toward men. Women had to walk behind their husbands. Women could not own property, and widows could not remarry. In both East and West, male children were preferred over female children. Nevertheless, when they were allowed personal and intellectual freedom, women made significant achievements.
During the Middle Ages nuns played a key role in the religious life of Europe. Aristocratic women enjoyed power and prestige. Whole eras were influenced by women rulers for instance, Queen Elizabeth of England in the 16th century, Catherine the Great of Russia in the 18th century, and Queen Victoria of England in the 19th century.
Women were long considered naturally weaker than men, squeamish, and unable to perform work requiring muscular or intellectual development.
In most preindustrial societies, for example, domestic chores were relegated to women, leaving "heavier" labor such as hunting and plowing to men. This ignored the fact that caring for children and doing such tasks as milking cows and washing clothes also required heavy, sustained labor.
But physiological tests now suggest that women have a greater tolerance for pain, and statistics reveal that women live longer and are more resistant to many diseases. Maternity, the natural biological role of women, has traditionally been regarded as their major social role as well.
The resulting stereotype that "a woman's place is in the home" has largely determined the ways in which women have expressed themselves. Today, contraception and, in some areas, legalized abortion have given women greater control over the number of children they will bear.
Although these developments have freed women for roles other than motherhood, the cultural pressure for women to become wives and mothers still prevents many talented women from finishing college or pursuing careers.
Traditionally a middle-class girl in Western culture tended to learn from her mother's example that cooking, cleaning, and caring for children was the behavior expected of her when she grew up.
Tests made in the s showed that the scholastic achievement of girls was higher in the early grades than in high school. The major reason given was that the girls' own expectations declined because neither their families nor their teachers expected them to prepare for a future other than that of marriage and motherhood.
This trend has been changing in recent decades. Formal education for girls historically has been secondary to that for boys. In colonial America girls learned to read and write at dame schools. They could attend the master's schools for boys when there was room, usually during the summer when most of the boys were working.
By the end of the 19th century, however, the number of women students had increased greatly. Higher education particularly was broadened by the rise of women's colleges and the admission of women to regular colleges and universities.
In an estimated one fifth of resident college and university students were women. By the proportion had increased to more than one third. Women obtained 19 percent of all undergraduate college degrees around the beginning of the 20th century. By the figure had sharply increased to 49 percent.Welsh, French, Scottish, Native American, English; Hillary Clinton's paternal grandfather Hugh Rodham was born in in Northumberland, England and immigrated to Pennsylvania to .
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