Women’s Roles Then and Now
Woman of 18th century: – Hello, how do you do? Let me introduce myself. I am a representative of middle class woman that lives at the beginning of the 18th century. I live with my husband and three daughters. I married him when I was nineteen and he was in his early thirties. He owned the farm and made a fortune having contracts with the shops in the city providing them with fresh products. My family agreed our marriage with his mother when I was eighteen, although we waited a year when his budget reaches specific sum that was enough to take care of his own family.
There is also my husband’s mother living with us because the house is hers. Traditionally their family had many servants and now we just monitor the household chores as house cleaners perform them. There is also a man who is responsible for the state of our garden and one man who is in charge of the horses and cows. We live in a country house, own a small farm and raise our children. My husband works at our farm and also sells the goods to the city market and shops. My responsibilities include watching after kids and educating them. Besides, I also maintain the household and check that the house cleaners do everything. Older girls visit a special school for girls where they live for half a year and then come home for a fortnight. Younger daughter stays at home and we watch that she knows all the letters and figures as well as learn to play the piano before she reaches the age of entering the school as her elder sisters. What about you? What do you do for living?
Woman of 19th century: – Hello, nice to meet you! I live in the middle of the 19th century and my role in the society changed a bit since the time you live. I am a middle class representative and have three servants responsible for the household chores. As nowadays, a family should be able to afford a t least one servant in order to be considered a middle class representative. More than 80% of women nowadays belong to the working class. The time changed and women now are able to take almost equal part with the men being employed in various positions. My husband owns a tailoring manufacture. He is responsible for production of cloth and clothes for the individual orders. I am responsible for the accounting for our business and train the new workers how to perform their jobs quicker and better. I am fond of being responsible for the part of our family business. At the same time, we have three children. The oldest son is studying to continue our family business and two younger kids a boy and a girl go to school. The daughter also sings for the church choir in the evenings and has performances for public during Sunday service. We visit church every Sunday. There we can meet our relatives and friends, discuss the latest news and show our stable position to the world, thus, creating a good reputation of our family in the society.
Speaking about our servants, we have a gardener, a house cleaner who also does the cooking and a disposer, which is responsible for maintaining the house in a good condition and controlling the work of the other two servants, and responsible for meeting the guests. I spend almost all the days at the manufacture with my husband, but there is also one day per week when I stay at the house and check if everything is properly done around the house. Sometimes I can stay home to get ready for the dinner if we have invited special guests. Sometimes we also have women evenings with my acquaintances when we speak about our lives, discuss the new trends in style and can even discuss some political news. Some of my friends say that soon we will be able to vote and represent female direction in the political sphere. However, for now, it is just conversations. Women now are responsible for being a good mother to their children, a good wife to their husband, and make a part to the family budged as well.
Woman of 18th century: – The women of my time consider that a woman should be responsible for building a strong family. Before the marriage, every woman should try to look very good, maintain good health to able to give birth to healthy children. The level of deaths among the young women while giving birth is very high as well as the level of infant deaths. After the marriage at the age of early twenties, the woman should be ready to fulfill her responsibilities as wife and raise the children, giving them required education. The main work that woman does is performing household chores, controlling that the dishes are clean, the windows are clean, the linen is washed and the clothes her husband and kids wear is clean and well sewn. Women of middle class usually do not work as it is considered that the women are week and the man should be fully responsible for providing for his family.
Woman of 19th century: – The women of the 19th century have more opportunities nowadays as they can have jobs like tailoring, dishwashing, serving, washing the clothes and linen, shop assisting and many other job opportunities. The ideal woman of the 19th century is a wife of her husband that gave birth to three or more children and has a profession that she can apply to earn some money. Women are now dreaming about extending of their rights. The industrial revolution changed the world and women realized that they could have more rights than they had before. There are feminist movements all over the world and women of the 19th century society dream about having right to vote in the government in order to make further changes in the position of women on the governmental level.
Woman of 18th century: – Why do women of the 19th century need to have more rights and to have right to vote? I cannot understand why the women of your time cannot be happy doing the household chores, sew, read, paint, and raise the children. Why do you aim to do the jobs as men do? The men should be responsible for the money and be able to support their families. Women should not strive for the power, employment and politics.
Woman of 19th century: – It is rather boring to have the only aim in life as to get married, raise children and wait until they get married. Women of 18th century are limited in their life choices; they have no rights of significant importance and power in the society. Women should have more opportunities, they can do things, they can do jobs and they should lead more active life than women of the 18th century have now. However, it is evident that they had no other choice as they had no conditions, the industrial revolution is ahead, and only after it, the women will be able to see the reason to change their roles.