Women's history is the study of the role that women have played in history and the methods required to do so. It includes the study of the history of the growth of woman's rights throughout recorded history, personal achievement over a period of time, the examination of individual and groups of women of historical significance, the effect that historical events have had on women. Inherent in the study of women's history is the belief that more traditional recordings of history have minimized or ignored the contributions of women to different fields and the effect that historical events had on women as a whole; the main centers of scholarship have been the United States and Britain, where second-wave feminist historians, influenced by the new approaches promoted by social history, led the way. As activists in women's liberation and analyzing the oppression and inequalities they experienced as women, they believed it imperative to learn about the lives of their fore mothers—and found little scholarship in print.
History was written by men and about men's activities in the public sphere in Africa—war, politics and administration. Women are excluded and, when mentioned, are portrayed in sex-stereotypical roles such as wives, mothers and mistresses; the study of history is value-laden in regard to what is considered "worthy." Other aspects of this area of study is the differences in women's lives caused by race, economic status, social status, various other aspects of society. Changes came in the 20th centuries. Women traditionally ran the household and reared the children, were nurses, wives, neighbours and teachers. During periods of war, women were drafted into the labor market to undertake work, traditionally restricted to men. Following the wars, they invariably lost their jobs in industry and had to return to domestic and service roles; the history of Scottish women in the late 19th century and early 20th century was not developed as a field of study until the 1980s. In addition, most work on women before 1700 has been published since 1980.
Several studies have taken a biographical approach, but other work has drawn on the insights from research elsewhere to examine such issues as work, religion and images of women. Scholars are uncovering women's voices in their letters, memoirs and court records; because of the late development of the field, much recent work has been recuperative, but the insights of gender history, both in other countries and in Scottish history after 1700, are being used to frame the questions that are asked. Future work should contribute both to a reinterpretation of the current narratives of Scottish history and to a deepening of the complexity of the history of women in late medieval and early modern Britain and Europe. In Ireland studies of women, gender relationships more had been rare before 1990. French historians have taken a unique approach: there has been an extensive scholarship in women's and gender history despite the lack of women's and gender study programs or departments at the university level.
But approaches used by other academics in the research of broadly based social histories have been applied to the field of women's history as well. The high level of research and publication in women's and gender history is due to the high interest within French society; the structural discrimination in academia against the subject of gender history in France is changing due to the increase in international studies following the formation of the European Union, more French scholars seeking appointments outside Europe. Before the 19th century, young women lived under the economic and disciplinary authority of their fathers until they married and passed under the control of their husbands. In order to secure a satisfactory marriage, a woman needed to bring a substantial dowry. In the wealthier families, daughters received their dowry from their families, whereas the poorer women needed to work in order to save their wages so as to improve their chances to wed. Under the German laws, women had property rights over their dowries and inheritances, a valuable benefit as high mortality rates resulted in successive marriages.
Before 1789, the majority of women lived confined to the home. The Age of Reason did not bring much more for women: men, including Enlightenment aficionados, believed that women were destined to be principally wives and mothers. Within the educated classes, there was the belief that women needed to be sufficiently educated to be intelligent and agreeable interlocutors to their husbands. However, the lower-class women were expected to be economically productive in order to help their husbands make ends meet. In the newly founded German State, women of all social classes were politically and disenfranchised; the code of social respectability confined upper class and bourgeois women to their homes. They were considered and economically inferior to their husbands; the unmarried women were ridiculed, the ones who wanted to avoid social descent could work as unpaid housekeepers living with relatives. A significant number of middle-class families became impoverished between 1871 and 1890 as the pace of industrial growth was uncertain, women had to earn money in secret by sewing or embroidery to contribute to the family income.
History of women in the United Kingdom
History of women in the United Kingdom covers the social and political roles of women in Britain over the last two millennia. Medieval England was a patriarchal society and the lives of women were influenced by contemporary beliefs about gender and authority. However, the position of women varied according to factors including their social class. Henrietta Leyser argues that women had much informal power in their homes and communities, although they were of subordinate to men, she identifies a deterioration the status of women in the Middle Ages, although they retained strong roles in culture and spirituality. Significant gender inequities persisted throughout the period, as women had more limited life-choices, access to employment and trade, legal rights than men. After the Norman invasion, the position of women in society changed; the rights and roles of women became more defined, in part as a result of the development of the feudal system and the expansion of the English legal system. The rights of widows were formally laid down in law by the end of the twelfth century, clarifying the right of free women to own property, but this did not prevent women from being forcibly remarried against their wishes.
The growth of governmental institutions under a succession of bishops reduced the role of queens and their households in formal government. Married or widowed noblewomen remained significant cultural and religious patrons and played an important part in political and military events if chroniclers were uncertain if this was appropriate behaviour; as in earlier centuries, most women worked in agriculture, but here roles became more gendered, with ploughing and managing the fields defined as men's work, for example, dairy production becoming dominated by women. In medieval times, women had responsibility for selling the ale that men all drank. By 1600, men had taken over that role; the reasons include commercial growth, gild formation, changing technologies, new regulations, widespread prejudices that associated female brewsters with drunkenness and disorder. The taverns still use women to serve it, a low-status, low-skilled, poorly remunerated tasks. While the Tudor era presents an abundance of material on the women of the nobility—especially royal wives and queens—historians have recovered scant documentation about the average lives of women.
There has, been extensive statistical analysis of demographic and population data which includes women in their childbearing roles. The role of women in society was, for the historical era unconstrained. England had more well-educated upper class women; the Queen's marital status was a major diplomatic topic. It entered into the popular culture. Elizabeth's unmarried status inspired a cult of virginity. In poetry and portraiture, she was depicted as both, not as a normal woman. Elizabeth made a virtue of her virginity: in 1559, she told the Commons, "And, in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned such a time and died a virgin". Public tributes to the Virgin by 1578 acted as a coded assertion of opposition to the queen's marriage negotiations with the Duc d'Alençon. In contrast to her father's emphasis on masculinity and physical prowess, Elizabeth emphasized the maternalism theme, saying that she was married to her kingdom and subjects.
She explained "I keep the good will of all my husbands — my good people — for if they did not rest assured of some special love towards them, they would not yield me such good obedience," and promised in 1563 they would never have a more natural mother than she. Coch argues that her figurative motherhood played a central role in her complex self-representation and legitimating the personal rule of a divinely appointed female prince. Although medical men did not approve, women healers played a significant role in the medical care of Londoners from cradle to grave during the Elizabethan era, they were hired by hospitals, as well as by private families. They played central roles in the delivery of nursing care as well as medical and surgical services throughout the city as part of organized systems of health care. Women's medical roles continue to expand in the 17th century regarding care of paupers, they operated nursing homes for the homeless and sick poor, looked after abandoned and orphaned children, pregnant women, lunatics.
After 1700, the workhouse movement undermined many of these roles and the parish nurse became restricted to the rearing and nursing of children and infants. Over ninety percent of English women entered marriage in this era at an average age of about 25–26 years for the bride and 27–28 years for the groom. Among the nobility and gentry, the average was around 19-21 for 24-26 for grooms. Many city and townswomen married for the first time in their thirties and forties and it was not unusual for orphaned young women to delay marriage until the late twenties or early thirties to help support their younger siblings, a fourth of all English brides were pregnant at their weddings. In England, Scotland and Ireland there was a succession of Witchcraft Acts starting with Henry VIII's Act of 1542, they governed witchcraft and providing penalties for it
Women's suffrage in the United States
Women's suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, nationally in 1920. The demand for women's suffrage began to gather strength in the 1840s, emerging from the broader movement for women's rights. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, passed a resolution in favor of women's suffrage despite opposition from some of its organizers, who believed the idea was too extreme. By the time of the first National Women's Rights Convention in 1850, suffrage was becoming an important aspect of the movement's activities; the first national suffrage organizations were established in 1869 when two competing organizations were formed, one led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. After years of rivalry, they merged in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association with Anthony as its leading force.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union, the largest women's organization at that time, was established in 1873 and pursued women's suffrage, giving a huge boost to the movement. Hoping that the U. S. Supreme Court would rule that women had a constitutional right to vote, suffragists made several attempts to vote in the early 1870s and filed lawsuits when they were turned away. Anthony succeeded in voting in 1872 but was arrested for that act and found guilty in a publicized trial that gave the movement fresh momentum. After the Supreme Court ruled against them in 1875, suffragists began the decades-long campaign for an amendment to the U. S. Constitution that would enfranchise women. Much of the movement's energy, went toward working for suffrage on a state-by-state basis. In 1916 Alice Paul formed the National Woman's Party, a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. Over 200 NWP supporters, the Silent Sentinels, were arrested in 1917 while picketing the White House, some of whom went on hunger strike and endured forced feeding after being sent to prison.
Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the two-million-member NAWSA made a national suffrage amendment its top priority. After a hard-fought series of votes in the U. S. Congress and in state legislatures, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U. S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, it states, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Lydia Taft, a wealthy widow, was allowed to vote in town meetings in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756. No other women in the colonial era are known to have voted; the New Jersey constitution of 1776 enfranchised all adult inhabitants who owned a specified amount of property. Laws enacted in 1790 and 1797 referred to voters as "he or she", women voted. A law passed in 1807, excluded women from voting in that state. Kentucky passed the first statewide woman suffrage law in the New Republic Era – allowing any widow or feme sole over 21 who paid property taxes for the new county "common school" system.
This partial suffrage rights for women was not expressed as for whites only. The demand for women's suffrage emerged as part of the broader movement for women's rights. In the UK in 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a pioneering book called A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In Boston in 1838 Sarah Grimké published The Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, circulated. In 1845 Margaret Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a key document in American feminism that first appeared in serial form in 1839 in The Dial, a transcendentalist journal that Fuller edited. Significant barriers had to be overcome, before a campaign for women's suffrage could develop significant strength. One barrier was strong opposition to women's involvement in public affairs, a practice, not accepted among reform activists. Only after fierce debate were women accepted as members of the American Anti-Slavery Society at its convention of 1839, the organization split at its next convention when women were appointed to committees.
Opposition was strong against the idea of women speaking to audiences of both men and women. Frances Wright, a Scottish woman, was subjected to sharp criticism for delivering public lectures in the U. S. in 1826 and 1827. When the Grimké sisters, born into a slave-holding family in South Carolina, spoke against slavery throughout the northeast in the mid-1830s, the ministers of the Congregational Church, a major force in that region, published a statement condemning their actions. Despite the disapproval, in 1838 Angelina Grimké spoke against slavery before the Massachusetts legislature, the first woman in the U. S. to speak before a legislative body. Other women began to give public speeches in opposition to slavery and in support of women's rights. Early female speakers included a Jewish immigrant from Poland. Toward the end of the 1840s Lucy Stone launched her career as a public speaker, soon becoming the most famous female lecturer. Supporting both the abolitionist and women's rights movements, Stone played a major role in reducing the prejudice against women speaking in public.
Opposition remained strong, however. A regional women's rights convention in Ohio in 1851 was disrupted by male opponents. Sojourner Truth, who delivered her famous speech "Ain't I a Woman?" at the convention
A hip-hop feminist is defined as young feminists born after 1964 who approach the political community with a mixture of feminist and hip-hop sensibilities, hip-hop feminism. The term hip hop feminism was coined by the provocative cultural critic Joan Morgan in 1999 when she published the book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip Hop Feminist Breaks it Down, described as "seminal". Hip hop feminism is based on a tradition of black feminism, which emphasizes that the personal is political because our race, class and sexuality determine how we are treated. In the book Hip Hop's Inheritance: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Hip Hop Feminist Movement Reiland Rabaka writes, "Seeming to embrace and reject the fundamentals of feminism, the women of the hip hop generation, like the hip hop generation in general, have blurred the lines between the'personal' and the'political' by critically dialoguing with a culture that renders them invisible or grossly misrepresents them when and where they are visible".
An important idea that came out of early black feminism is that of intersectionality. The term intersectionality was first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw and was first used in a paper where Crenshaw outlines how black women are marginalized by both anti-racist and feminist movements, because their identity and concerns are not encompassed by only one group. In the chapter, Rabaka explains the connection between media, hip-hop and intersectionality: "hip-hop feminism is much more than feminism, it focuses on more than feminist issues and patriarchy. Hip-hop feminists use hip-hop culture as one of their primary points of departure to highlight serious social issues and the need for political activism aimed at racism, sexism and heterosexism as overlapping and interlocking systems of oppression" Hip hop feminism is a different kind of feminism than "traditional" feminism; the Hip-Hop feminism movement gained traction because there was no avenue for young black women. As human rights activist, Shani Jamila states in her book, Can I Get a Witness, "As women of the hip-hop generation we need a feminist consciousness that allows us to examine how representations and images can be empowering and problematic."
As many women and men involved in hip hop culture are not white, they will have a different perspective of viewing the world. Joan Morgan believes that "more than any other generation before us, we need a feminism committed to keeping it real. We need a voice like our music. We need a feminism that possesses the same fundamental understanding held by any true student of hip-hop. Truth can't be found in the voice of anyone rapper but the juxtaposition of many". In the book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down, Morgan identifies as a feminist and discusses how she loves hip-hop, known for being misogynistic and homophobic. This, Morgan notes, are things that go against feminist ideologies. Morgan comes up with the concept of "fucking with the greys" which to her meant embracing contradictions such as being a feminist while at the same time loving hip-hop and enjoying the parts of it that are patriarchal and misogynistic. Since Morgan coined the term in 1999, it has been suggested that hip-hop is queer, always has been.
According to Rinaldo Walcott, debates about hip-hop and queers have failed to acknowledge the centrality of non-heterosexuality to hip hop and rap cultures from its inception. Furthermore, because hip-hop emerges from the odd histories of urban black diaspora communities, the claim that hip-hop and rap culture has always been queer is neither revisionist nor a play with language—even if both might be needed in the contemporary settlement of a straightened out hip hop. Walcott argues that it is in the context of a straightened out hip hop that a queer sociality and a homosociality animates some of hip hop's most exciting moments as the soundtrack of contemporary urban life and beyond; as opposed to making the easy claims that rap music is sexist, homophobic, Marc Anthony Neal suggests to look for possibilities in the genre, moments that rupture the hegemonic script of what most people who do not listen to hip hop imagine it to be. He asks that we look at the gestures by individual rappers that work in the service of queering hip hop by providing a fluid or dynamic representation that belies a static and monolithic rendering of the music.
Neal looks to Jay-Z, a fixture on the hip hop landscape, assesses the gestures he makes that trouble traditional black masculinity in hip hop representation as the rapper has tried to negotiate his presence in a genre so tied to youth while he continues to age. For Neal, queer means a departure from rap masculinity as it is rendered, he cites Jay-Z's dress, video treatments, global presence as markers of his queering hip hop masculine performance. However, he notes that Jay-Z's somewhat alternative performance still maintains hegemony as exerted through classed and raced representations of masculinity. Brittney Cooper, who teaches a seminar about hip-hop feminism at Rutgers University, along with Aisha Durham and Susana M. Morris, that hip-hop feminism remains deep
Feminist movements and ideologies
A variety of movements of feminist ideology have developed over the years. They vary in goals and affiliations, they overlap, some feminists identify themselves with several branches of feminist thought. Judith Lorber distinguishes between three broad kinds of feminist discourses: gender reform feminisms, gender resistant feminisms, gender revolution feminisms. In her typology, gender reform feminisms are rooted in the political philosophy of liberalism with its emphasis on individual rights. Gender resistant feminisms focus on specific behaviors and group dynamics through which women are kept in a subordinate position in subcultures which claim to support gender equality. Gender revolution feminisms seek to disrupt the social order through deconstructing its concepts and categories and analyzing the cultural reproduction of inequalities. "Mainstream feminism" as a general term identifies feminist ideologies and movements which do not fall into either the socialist or radical feminist camps. The mainstream feminist movement traditionally focused on political and legal reform, has its roots in first-wave feminism and in the historical liberal feminism of the 19th and early-20th centuries.
In 2017, Angela Davis referred to mainstream feminism as "bourgeois feminism". The term is today used by essayists and cultural analysts in reference to a movement made palatable to a general audience by celebrity supporters like Taylor Swift. Mainstream feminism is derisively referred to as "white feminism," a term implying that mainstream feminists don't fight for intersectionality with race and sexuality. Mainstream feminism has been accused of being commercialized, of focusing on issues that are less contentious in the western world today, such as women's political participation or female education access. Radical feminists sometimes criticize mainstream feminists as part of "a system of patriarchy". Major milestones of the feminist struggle—such as the right to vote and the right to education—came about as a result of the work of the mainstream feminist movement, which emphasized building far-reaching support for feminist causes among both men and women. Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism.
It views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle and of the anarchist struggle against the state. In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice versa; as L. Susan Brown puts it, "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist". Important historic anarcha-feminists include Emma Goldman, Federica Montseny, Voltairine de Cleyre, Maria Lacerda de Moura, Lucy Parsons. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres, linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. Contemporary anarcha-feminist writers/theorists include Germaine Greer, L. Susan Brown, the eco-feminist Starhawk. Contemporary anarcha-feminist groups include Bolivia's Mujeres Creando, Radical Cheerleaders, the Spanish anarcha-feminist squat La Eskalera Karakola, the annual La Rivolta! conference in Boston.
Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, racism are inextricably bound together. Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias; the National Black Feminist Organization was founded in 1973 by Florynce Kennedy, Margaret Sloan, Doris Wright, according to Wright it, "more than any other organization in the century launched a frontal assault on sexism and racism". The NBFO helped inspire the founding of the Boston-based organization the Combahee River Collective in 1974 which not only led the way for crucial antiracist activism in Boston through the decade, but provided a blueprint for Black feminism that still stands a quarter of a century later. Combahee member Barbara Smith’s definition of feminism that still remains a model today states that, "feminism is the political theory and practice to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, physically challenged women, old women, as well as white economically privileged heterosexual women.
Anything less than this is not feminism, but female self-aggrandizement." The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism and class oppression. One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker's womanism, it emerged after the early feminist movements that were led by white women, were white middle-class movements, had ignored oppression based on racism and classism. Alice Walker and other womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women. Angela Davis was one of the first people who articulated an argument centered around the intersection of race and class in her book, Women and Class. Kimberle Crenshaw, a prominent feminist law theorist, gave the idea the name intersectionality in the late 1980s as part of her work in anti-discrimination law, as part of describing the effects of compound discrimination against black women.
Cultural feminism is the ideology of a "female nature" or "female essence" that attempts to revalidate what they consider undervalued female attributes. It emphasizes the difference between women and men but considers that difference to be psychologic
Women's suffrage in Japan
The women's suffrage in Japan can traces its origin back to democratization brought by Meiji Restoration, blossomed in the 1920s during the Taisho democracy. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the concept of human rights and universal suffrage began to take hold in Japan. During the late 19th century, the first proponents for women's rights advocated, not for political inclusion or voting rights, but for reforms in the patriarchal society oppressing women. Of prime importance to the early feminist movement was the call for women's education. Policymakers believed that this was imperative to the preservation of the state, as it would prepare girls to become effective wives and mothers capable of producing diligent, patriotic sons. Although policymakers did not have the same motives as women's rights advocates in their call for women's education, the availability of education opened the door for further advancements for women in Japanese society; as the idea of women becoming skilled and prudent individuals, whether in the workforce or through education, this modern concept was soon accepted in addition to its interrelationship with excellent and pure motherhood.
The end of the 19th century saw the fight for protection of women from patriarchal cultural practices. Practices such as prostitution and polygamy had long subjected them to abuse, in particular sexually transmitted diseases. Feminists began to oppose both the exclusive provision of civil rights for men and the exclusion of women from politics. Women in Japan were prohibited, by law, from joining political parties, expressing political views, attending political meetings. By 1920, the fight for women's political inclusion was at the forefront of the suffrage movement and, in 1921, the Diet of Japan overruled Article 5 of the Police Security Act by granting women the right to attend political meetings; the ban on women's involvement in political parties was not altered, as many members of the Diet felt that it was selfish for women to forsake their families for government. Feminists were still determined to fight for political equality; the Women's Suffrage League was founded in 1924, the same year that the Japanese government enacted the Men's Suffrage Law, without extending the vote to women.
After women were granted the right to participate in political assemblies, there was a surge in numbers of women's interest groups. Alumni groups, Christian missionary groups, other women's auxiliary groups began to sprout during the inter-war period. After a massive earthquake struck Tokyo in 1923, representatives from 43 of these organizations joined forces to become the Tokyo Federation of Women's Organizations; the federation was designed to serve as disaster relief to aid those affected by the earthquake. To efficiently address the issues affecting women, the Tokyo Federation of Women's Organizations divided into five satellite groups: society, education and employment; the government sector was the most significant, as it spawned the League for the Realization of Women's Suffrage the Women's Suffrage League, which became the most influential and outspoken women's advocacy collective of the era. The government satellite issued a manifesto outlining the abuses Japanese women suffered and how they were to be corrected: 1) It is our responsibility to destroy customs which have existed in this country for the past twenty six hundred years and to construct a new Japan that promotes the natural rights of men and women.
The League, as well as numerous other groups, continued to fight for social and political inclusion, as well as legal protection from the patriarchal traditions that continued in Japan. Women were granted the right to vote in 1946, in part due to pressure from the occupying forces of the United States. Shidzue Katō: As a member of the Japanese Socialist Party, Shidzue Kato was the first woman elected to the Imperial Diet, she spent the majority of her life fighting for women's political rights. She is noted for annulling her marriage and remarrying, an act, rare for women at the time. Fusae Ichikawa: Advocate for women’s political rights. Ichikawa concentrated most of her efforts towards gaining women the right to participate in the voting process and in political parties. With Hiratsuka Raicho, she helped establish the New Woman Association, her involvement extended to the League for Women's Suffrage. Ichikawa traveled to the United States shortly after World War I and observed the advancements American women such as Alice Paul had made in the fight for equality and political rights.
She returned to Japan, remained an outspoken voice for women’s rights, was elected to the Japan’s House of Councillors in the 1950s. Shigeri Yamataka: Worked with Ichikawa in the Women's Suffrage League. After World War II, she was twice elected to the House