Women: Eighteenth Century and Today
The life of an eighteenth century woman would seem nearly insufferable when compared with the great advantages that woman today take for granted. While it is still debatable if women are seen in the same light as men but it is not debatable that woman have made significant advances since the eighteenth century. In the eighteenth century to be a mans wife was nearly the same as to be a mans servant but today marriage is and equal partnership, and divorce was out of the question even for independently wealthy women while today women are free to divorce if they feel it is necessary. The women’s rights advances over the last 300 years have been truly remarkable.
During the eighteenth century married women’s lives revolved, to a large extent, around managing the household and serving their husbands, for a woman to have an education was almost unheard of seeing as formal education was not an option, this vaguely resembles the treatment of slaves who were not provided with an education either. In contrast today both men and women, in Canada and other industrialized countries, are provided education by law, if anybody were to be denied the right of education it is not only considered be morally wrong but also legally unjust. And some women today do manage their households but so do some men and a person is to take on this task by choice and not because of an obligation brought forth by their marital status.
In the eighteenth century once a woman married a man she was bound to that man until one of them died. This would not have mattered in many cases of happy marriages but in unhappy marriages this means not even to last resort exit of divorce could save a woman from a bond she no longer wants to be a part of. Chudleigh refers to marriage as a “fatal knot” in which once a woman is caught that she will not be able to escape and that all a married woman has left with is her pride. Today on the other hand divorce brought on by the woman in the relationship is very common; some would say divorce today is alarmingly common. Both a woman of a man now have the right to divorce their partner for any reason, meaning the “fatal knot” that once existed had been broken and the worries of the eighteenth century woman no longer apply in todays much more socially advanced world.
In comparison though the rights of women are not nearly as advanced as possible they are much more advanced than in the eighteenth century. Marriage no longer means that a women is to be her husbands servant and housekeeper and divorce is no longer only a tool of the man in the relationship. With the many advances since the eighteenth century women’s rights and the rights of all people in general has been one of the greatest and only more improvement in these fields can be expected in the years to come.