Rachel's blog

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.

03 The role of women in the Victorian era

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 11:45 pm on miércoles, mayo 22, 2013

During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman’s place was in the home, as domesticity and motherhood were considered by society at large to be a sufficient emotional fulfillment for females. The transformation of Britain into an industrial nation had profound consequences for the ways in which women were to be idealized in Victorian times. The role of women was to have children and tend to the house in contrast to men, according to the concept of Victorian masculinity.

The high class women were only useful to have children, take care of them. The woman of the “elite class” enjoyed all the amenities and favors that one could think of, like dancing, which was a preferred pastime among most of the upper-class women. The high class women did very little or almost no home chores and the ladies did not do things themselves but told others what to do. They were just supposed to marry and raise children.

However, many working class women worked in factories, in laundries or in other hard jobs, and also have to take care of their families and homes. Another employment for “lower” working class women was the domestic service. It was a tough job as the domestic servants were supposed to work seven days a week and twelve hours a day. A large percentage of women also worked as nurses in hospitals and were employed in offices during the later part of the century.

Although, Elizabeth Gaskell was trying to show a bit of the strength of the women, in the characters of Margaret and Mrs. Thornton, she does not leave the power in her hands, as at the end, when Margaret gives her money in Mr. Thornton’s hands to start the factory again.

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