First Wave Feminist Analysis

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The first wave feminists may have been classified as ‘Wowsers’ by some, due to people’s perceptions in the way they used the ideas of society, and behaviour of men, during the late 19th to early 20th century to oppose their exclusion from social and political life, and to improve society’s views of women and women’s rights. This essay will argue that the first wave feminists were not ‘Wowsers’, and that the women’s movement needed to act against the behaviour of men and society’s ideologies to improve women’s rights. This will be demonstrated by examining the social construction of gender role expectations and masculinity. While also focusing on societies views of sexuality and sexual morality and the impact this had on women and young girls…show more content…
The role of a wife and a mother was valued as long as the women stood by society’s moral standards of motherhood, respecting their husbands, staying in the private sphere and raising children for the benefit of the British Empire. For a population to flourish the 1907 Harvester judgement brought minimum wage, which covered the upkeep of a wife and three children. This judgment reduced women’s working hours and limited employment to protect their reproductive possibilities. This was supported by married mothers who wanted to stay home to raise their children, as social welfare was now available for the married mother. Whereas previously the economic depression brought women into destitution therefor the ideas of having children was not favoured. However, the single women who took to industrial employment and was opposed to marriage, the Harvest judgment put an end to their independence and income opportunities as they had no choice but to turn to married life and reproducing children to gain an…show more content…
However, it took until 1897 for the first women Catherine Helen Spence, to stand as a political candidate, even though she was told she could not sit even if she had won. This demonstrated that although the suffragettes were successful in their fight for women’s rights, there was still a divide in gender equality. However, women were devoted to doing what they needed to gain social acceptance and political standing, so the rallying continued. Due to the efforts of the women’s movement, Australia was the first country in the world in 1902 to allow women not only the right to vote in federal elections but to also be elected as members of the parliament. However, it took until 1921 for the first women, Edith Cowan, to be elected and to stand in any Australian Parliament. While Aboriginal women were still not granted suffrage until 1962, regardless of the rallying from the women’s
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