Women and Economics

216 Sidor

Beskrivning av boken

Centrally, Gilman argues that women must change their cultural identities. Early on, she mentions that humans are the only species in which the female has to depend on the male for survival. This dependence requires women to pay off their debt through domestic services, or “sex-functions”.Gilman argues that women “work longer and harder than most men, and not solely in maternal duties.” Further, Gilman states that female activities in general are directed by men. These sexual distinctions have led to an odd distribution of power and have been detrimental to both genders, in Gilman's view.
These sexual distinctions have left women behind and allowed men to claim credit for human progress. Gilman argues that women fulfill the dual roles of mother and martyr, and pass these roles down to their children, creating a continuing image of women as unpaid workers and nurturers. This in turn, has stunted women's creative and personal growth. Gilman was a confirmed suffragist, but did not believe progress would happen if women were only given the vote. Progress was not measured only by states that allowed women to vote, but as well “in the changes legal, social, mental and physical, which mark the advance of the mother of the world toward her full place.”
Gilman also reflects on the strange fact that poorer women who can least afford it, have more children, while wealthy women who can afford it, have fewer children. Gilman talks about the agricultural age, when more children were needed to assist with farming. In the industrial age however, more children result in more work for the mother. Gilman argued all these points, but still believed motherhood was “the common duty and the common glory of womanhood,” and women would choose “professions compatible with motherhood."



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