Women and Economics

Length: 5 Pages 1368 Words

Many both in the past and the present have challenged the treatment of women by society over the past century or so. In Western culture, the placement of women on a lower level than men has been around for as long as can be remembered. Never has the woman been thought of as the “breadwinner” of the family. It took the determination of women in the past just to get women into the workplace. Still today, women earn less money and hold less substantial job titles. But because of these women from the past, society has taken a different view. Women such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman have paved the way for women in economics. Her revolutionary view of women in and out of the household is unprecedented. Though written almost a hundred years ago, the same cruelties and injustices Gilman described and attacked in Women and Economics are still very much alive today. The beliefs she put forth in her book are the basis for the amount of independence women have experienced in the present. In Women and Economics, Gilman began with the premise that women are “owned” by men. Women could not choose to work out of the house – they were forced to stay with the children. The man of the house would be at work bringing in the mo Continue...

A woman could not choose otherwise because the man supported her. " The liberation of women thus required education and the opportunity to use their studies to establish social as well as economic independence. This must be done by taking and demanding what is rightfully theirs, not waiting for it to be given back. In this way, the woman was "owned by the man. Men controlled everything within her society, even down to the marriage proposal. Gilman was correct in thinking that a solid beginning would be if women got their foot, as women, in the door of the work force. She believed that if there were a market for the domestic industry, the overall quality would improve. " Gilman's solution to women's economic independence was to create a large market for domestic industry. She believed, from personal experience, that "the home tended to produce such qualities, necessary for the development of the human race, as kindness and caring. When she wrote the book in 1898, her ideas were looked upon as extreme and unrealistic. Gilman believed that men and women should share the responsibility of housework - a radical notion at the time. Women and Economics denounces women's financial dependence on men and supports day-care programs and cooperative kitchens. " Women's economic dependence on men resulted in their being "denied the enlarged activities which have developed intelligence in man, denied the education of the will which only comes by freedom and power. Gilman believed these women should be allowed to explore different options outside of the household that they could succeed at.