Women's Personal Lives

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Personal Lives:

Dominant Ideologies:

Separate Spheres – Public and private spheres, women belong in the private sphere at home maintaining family life; men were to go out and work in the public sphere.

Angel in the House – Women upheld angelic qualities and served their purpose as a wife and mother within the home.

Ideologies mainly affected middle and upper classes, the working class typically didn’t fit with the ideology of the time as many women had no choice but to work to provide for their family as well as the man, in many cases working class women also single and unmarried which was seen as shameful.

 Caroline Norton:

Married to help her mother’s desperate situation, husband George beat her on the basis she had an affair, also stopped her seeing children. George dies in 1877 and she remarried 25 years later to man she had affair with at age of 69.

1.       Wrote pamphlet on women’s custody rights explaining the unfair system. 1838 failed to pass an act which granted women custody of children under 7 and access to others. Eventually passed in 1839 – Custody of Children Act.

2.       Refused to give legalities to George, he refused to let her see children. Wrote more pamphlets 54-55, 1857 Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act.

- allowed divorce to happen through courts instead of private members bill, wife had to be proved of adultery but husband had to also be proved of either; **********, ****, cruelty, long-term desertion, ******, or bigamy.

 Norton had support form women in similar situations, made ideologies less relevant.

 Jackson Case 1891:

Mrs Jackson refused to see husband once he returned from NZ, he abducted her and locked her in their home.  Eventually decided in court Mr Jackson wrong to do so, became law husbands couldn’t force wives to live with them. Case law.

 Barbara Leigh – Smith:

 Born into radical family, father radical MP for women’s rights. She established a multi-gender…


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