“I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”- Alice Paul. As the Gilded Age took forth and the economy boosted in the country, immigrants and urbanization increased. With the economy growing, the women found an opportunity to include themselves in the business throughout this time period. With the education that was accessible to women, they were inspired to participate in a real job and eliminate their chances of doing “busy” work at home. As the women of the United States came together and grew organization through their beliefs, they found their voice and used their voice to their advantage.
As women’s roles progressed, they created settlement houses to help the immigrants, women, and those in poverty. The ratification of the 19th amendment was ratified through the fight of women nationally and women suffrage finally ended. Through the difficult time of World War 1, women kept the country flowing smoothly, meanwhile the men fled to fight. Women’s roles changed drastically, the men discovered how capable the women were and how efficient they were to the country. Women were seen as essential to the country as they had an important role to play in the country, equally as important as men. Once women were able to attend college and further their knowledge, they were motivated to fight for more job opportunities. The maternal commonwealth created an idea of women using their “busy” work and displaying the work for the public’s advantage. The movement was known as a “movement that transformed America” (USHISTORY.org). Before the late 19th century, women weren’t open to opportunities and the fight for their roles to be equal as men was nonexistent due to the punishment they received for small acts of protesting. When slavery abolished in the country, African-American women had a difficult time finding another job that did not include cooking or being a maid. The gap between the white women and the African-American women was still fairly large, the ethnicity still had a toll of what privileges they each had. The only similarity through the different races was the growth of the women’s roles in both white and African-Americans.
The women, whether they were African-American or white grew within each other and they unified to protest as one. As women progressed, their desire for equality of women’s roles and men, led them into wanting the same education opportunities. Their opportunity to attend college and further their knowledge proved that “women can have the best of both worlds: education, while still upholding womanly traditions” (HISTORYENGINE). Men began to realize the capabilities the women could maintain and the job openings for women opened. Even though many men didn’t approve of the change of roles of women, the women found a purpose to advocate for their beliefs. This movement pushed the women to support each other and to stand up for one another for their roles, for they were just as significant as the men’s roles. Education helped the women identify what they wanted for themselves and the equality of roles they deserved. Women became stronger and could back up their beliefs through the education that was provided for women in the country. They were properly educated, making their statements powerful and having the right to other jobs. The sobriety of the men was decreasing, while the alcohol consumption through the states increased, resulting a toll on the family and wife instead of the men. As the saloon became popular and seen as a fun time, men spent most or all of their earnings on beer, leaving the family with no money for food. The abuse of women increased as men came home drunk with no money, but leaving hungry and angry women at home. Through this trouble the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was a movement against the elimination of alcohol consumption and production.
The movement was national as the “normally quiet housewives dropped to their knees in pray-ins in local saloons and demanded that the sale of liquor be stopped,”(History – WCTU) and communities began to shut down their production of alcohol. This movement helped women realize the roles they had and they began to advocate for the elimination of alcohol nationally. Women stood together, even though women roles were at the bottom, they nearly had no say in any decision. Through this union they were able to make a change and they unified to at least support the elimination of alcohol through the states. This union began to look deeper into women suffrage and they began to advocate the right of women’s voting through this movement, sparking many women and having more women join the fight for equal roles between both genders. Jane addams, the creator of the Hull-House, wanted to “add social function to democracy”(SOCIALWELFARE). By adding social function to democracy Jane wanted to improve the lives of the citizens that weren’t classified as middle or upper class.
The Hull-House was a project of Jane Addams that allowed child care for women, homes for immigrants and support for those in poverty. She wanted to give these group of individuals an opportunity that was fairly equal to any citizens in the country. She wanted to assist and help those individuals with the care they needed, for the were included in the countries democracy and she wanted to improve the country. The settlement house also changed the lives of immigrants, they had the opportunity to stay with their race and feel more comfortable. Many Americans were not fond of immigrants, in that case many individuals hated and despised them for taking away job opportunities to individuals who believed were “native” to the American soil. Jane saw the different cultures as “to bring to bear upon the results of culture and learning” (SOCIAL WELFARE). The immigrants had different ways of living life; they spoke different languages, dressed differently, and had different beliefs. Improving the life of the lower classes helped the country improve itself, the country is to be looked at as one and to be one everybody needs to retain the same opportunities and lives. Women suffrage spread around the world rapidly, for women began to grow their voices and they fought for the19th amendment, the right for women to vote.
As manifest destiny inspired the American citizens to flee to the West for a fresh start, the women had different roles than the women in the East. During the early times, all Americans began in the East and women were not able to oppose against anything or put in their opinion since that would lead to punishment. On the other hand women in the West had more leeway. The men in the West would listen to the women, most organizations began in the West due to the “freedom” they had. Their freedom was fairly small, but the freedom was more than the women in the East. As the women’s organization grew nationally, they created the “National Woman’s Suffrage Association”. Through this association, Alice Paul and a few other women protested against the punishment of fighting for women’s right to vote. They stood in front of the white house and made banners to advocate their belief of having the opportunity of having significant opinions, such as having the right to elect a president. The women’s unification resulted in women “gather[ing] enough influence to lobby the U.S. Congress for a constitutional amendment”(History.com). The hard work and the awful situations Alice Paul had to go through made a statement and made the ratification of the 19th amendment to come into play.
Women’s roles grew jurasically when they were granted the right to vote and to finally have meaning and significance to their opinion was a step closer to equal roles between both genders. During World War 1, women were left with the task of keeping the country running. With the participation of most men in the country, even children in war, women had to take responsibility and take the mens jobs. Through this experience women gained respect and they proved that the roles of women are not only to be spent at home. Women had potential and they need to use that potential in America’s economy. Jobs openings for women increase, women became nurses for the wounded men and they even had job opening in the office. Once war was over, the mens respect for women grew. This situation opened the eyes of men and helped them realize the important roles women played in the country. Women were “celebrated for their quiet heroism in keeping their home intact whilst their men were absent” (Bl.uk). Women made a change in the country and their hard work paid off, they achieved more respect as Women. The roles of the women expanded as their roles in the country were changed, they had more job openings and their importance was visual during and after World War 1.
The women in the country rode on a roller coaster for many centuries, but with the efforts of the women in the 19th century they were able to grow their roles as women. Their desire and hard work for having equal rights drove the women to fight harder for their rights. These movements did not make women quiet, but instead inspired and gave women a purpose to project their beliefs. The strong beliefs women upheld was seen through the dedication they drove in their protest and organizations. Women’s roles have come a long way and most certainly have grown through the centuries.