The role of women in the late 19th century Introduction San Francisco in the late 19th century had rapid advancements in terms of business growth and the role of women only viewed so far as a wife, mother and keeper of house hold was changing slowly. Women sought higher education and entered into many male dominated job areas like undertaking a profession at law…
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The progressive era and the oppressive ideas prevalent The late 19th century can be thought of as an era where rapid business and economic changes occurred, progression in terms of the legal rights and professional attitudes of women occurred. The image of San Francisco in the early twentieth century in the public areas is well portrayed by Jessica to be “one comprising of substantial stone clad buildings, visible down Market Street with a lively mixture of people which comprised of women in long dresses and hats and working women in business suits” (Jessica, 2011, pg 11). The women in the late 19th century faced much oppression in the work place especially in male dominated areas. Sexism or gender discrimination was at its peak in this era as female workers in highly proficient jobs faced opposition from both sexes. The major role of the women in the late 19th century was that of a housekeeper and caretaker of the children. The women from wealthy families hosted parties for business reasons and charity raising purposes. Working women faced a huge opposition from their family, society and at the work place. The women in the 19th century were involved in many reform movements like the women’s rights to suffrage, feminism to pacifism, temperance to abolitionism which changed the American history and gained many rights for the women (Kathleen, Therese, 1996, pg 25). There were many informal community groups involved to bring about a change in the neighborhood, the state, the society and ultimately in the nation. Women began to enter into all fields like journalism, photography, law, medicine and engineering. The publications like newspapers and magazines played a major role in the upliftment of the women (Kathleen, Therese, 1996, pg XVII). The right to vote was given to women in the 19th century by the joint effort of many women’s right movements active at that time. Discussion The book the Russian Hill murders by Shirley portrays the background found in the late 19th century well in relation to how the women were treated, expected to behave and the general culture over the period of time. The book is a murder mystery set in the 19th century and the incident occurs at San Francisco. The female lead in the book is Sarah Woolson who is an attorney at law in the late 1880’s, inspired by her father who was a Judge (Shirley, 2005, pg 15). The firm in itself is a major obstruction for her as she is taken into the firm reluctantly and in every manner possible the firm tries to push her down from her professional practice. The women in the 19th century had demanding work, much more tough than practicing criminal law in terms of the physical effort they had to spend “I find it strange that practicing law in a comfortable well-heated office is considered too demanding an occupation for women….” (Shirley, 2005, pg 6). Sarah overcomes the numerous oppositions she faces with a helpful few while following the female etiquette demanded from women during the late 19th century. Conclusion In the book Russian hill murders (Shirley, 2005) the social status of women in the late 19th century is well analyzed. The characters are all well portrayed and the background description fits in well with what existed in reality in the late 19th century. The lead character Sarah gives us an idea of how women in male dominated fields were treated in the 19th centur
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