Women at Work

The article excerpt being analyzed is Women at Work. The article addresses the problem of the discrimination of women when it comes to the working environment. During the 19th century, women were not eligible to work in numerous fields except for teaching. Additionally, the field of teaching did not really pay well particularly for the women who had limited rights during that time. The purpose of the article is to defend the rights of women to work in any field such as law and to receive adequate pay for the work done. As observed from the article, women seemed to be facing extreme discrimination during the 19th century. Hence, I intend to express the author’s views regarding women suffrage and importance of redefining of the gender roles.
In the chapter on Women at Work, the author depicts the events that women experienced during the 19th century. Women suffrage began when Kate Kennedy, an Irish educator and immigrant, initiated a lobbying campaign to enable equal pay for the women for the work they have done. She was almost successful when the state legislature enacted an 1874 law mandating the teaching institutions to compensate the female workers equal pay as that of the male teachers. The law was a big accomplishment for the women as half of the California teachers were women since it was the only field where a majority of the women were eligible (Elinson 180). Most of the reasoning behind allowing a majority of female teachers was mainly because of their nurturing nature, which was somewhat stereotypical.
The campaign by Kennedy motivated women in other fields like Law to end the discrimination by standing up for their rights. At that time, women were incapable of being admitted to the bar. The author shows the main heroes fighting for non-discrimination in the law field as suffragist Clara Shortridge Foltz and Laura de Force Gordon who convinced the legislature to revoke the law denying women admissions to the bar. The bill was controversial as it was greatly rejected by the men (Elinson 180). However, the bill was passed by two votes, and the two women became the first females to practice law in California. Furthermore, Dr. Lucy Maria Field Wanzer was admitted as the first woman by the San Francisco Medical Society.
The two women still fought for the rights of women through the constitutional revision adopted by the constitutional convention (Article XX, Section 18). It was amended in 1970 allowing women to experience equal rights and minimize their discrimination in the workplace, business among others. The author shows how the amendment passed its first test when waitress Mary Maguire was arrested for waiting on a person for more hours than expected by the constitution but was released when the law found it unconstitutional (Elinson 181). In the end, despite the interest, and the systematization of the sex equality of the California constitution, women’s rights were still neglected for a larger part of the subsequent years as the Congress, state legislature, and courts ignored the plight of women.
In this chapter, the author’s point of view is the plight of women during the 19th century and how brave women fought for equal rights and discrimination. The author tries to redefine the role of women in the community through the inclusion of women like Kennedy, Foltz and Gordon. Unlike most women of that time who were unable to present their views publicly, the three women were brave enough to lobby for the enactment of laws that would allow them equal rights as that of their male counterparts.
There are several supporting statements and facts that show how women were discriminated. For instance, she shows that during that time and for numerous subsequent years, women were only eligible to teaching jobs and the jobs still paid less when compared to the compensation of male teachers. In addition, women were denied freedom of movement as seen in Mary Maguire’s case where she was arrested for being in a barroom past the curfew for women. Also, reports from a Bureau of Labor Statistics documented that about a third of the women workers were being paid not more than fifteen cents every hour. The complete disregard for women’s rights forced the women to take the issue head on and fight for their rights. For instance, Katherine Philips Edson, the president of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs, started campaigning around the state for the law to be changed and allow an increase in minimum wages for the women (Elinson 181).
The statements presented by the author give rise to some implications. The brave nature of some women was exhibited by the fact that, despite the increased levels of discrimination against them, they were able to fight for their rights no matter the outcome. Furthermore, the state and its laws regarding the women are depicted as being inconsiderate. Most of the laws preventing the women from accessing their full potential was completely baseless. For instance, there was no adequate reasoning as to why women could not be admitted to the bar. Also, the curfew imposed on women and less pay for work done had no rationale. The author seems to have not included the plight of women and education. in this chapter, she simply talks of women being eligible for teaching jobs only but she does not emphasize on the education of the women. At that time, women had a higher chance of not attending school due to the notion that they were homemakers.
The chapter Women at Work, shows the plight of women during the 19th century and the level of discrimination they experienced. The women were not allowed to work in high profession jobs, were paid less and were restricted movement from specific times of the day. As a result, the women were forced to defend themselves by fighting for equal rights through campaigning for the enactment of certain laws. Some of the laws were amended and were beneficial to the women, but discrimination was still present during the larger part of that period and the subsequent ones.
Works Cited
Elinson, Elaine, and Stan Yogi. Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 2009. Print, pg. 180-181.

Is this question part of your assignment?

Place order