In 1890, less then one half of one percent of women were employed gainfully
outside of the home. Over the next hundred years, women have not only gained
access to jobs outside of the home, but also fought for equality in the work
place. These struggles have not been easy by any means. Women have overcome
many obstacles in there journey into the work force, none grater then the views
of their male piers. Many males thought and continue to think that there is no
place for women in the work place. Women made there strides into the work force
by not only following examples of their courageous pioneers, but also by banding
together to show their strength.
During the mid 1800\'s a small number of women begin their assault on, what
were at the time considered, male-only jobs. Fields such as teaching, preaching,
medicine, and law were all jobs domenated by men. Women had made some progress
in the work force before the 1850\'s. In the mid nineteenth century women were
the majority for grade school teachers, up from the ten percent of elementary
teachers, that were teachers in the colonial period. This can be largely
attributed not to the fact that men were more accepting of the idea that women
belonged in the work place, but rather men were drown to the higher paying and
more socially appreciated managerial jobs brought on by the industrial
revolution. School boards did not mind these talented leaving because they
could higher a "less qualified women" for as low as one fifth of males salary
for the same job.
Susan B. Anthony was the first women to publicly speak out against this
gross injustice towards women. After being fired to "replace a male teacher
fired for incompetence,she was paid one third of the salary he had
received,"(Reifert 74)she went to the state teachers convention of 1853 to
register a protest. After being hushed once and a half hour of debate she was
finally allowed to speak her peace. Although nothing became of her first
encounter with the women\'s movement, she quit teaching and went on to become one
of the great leaders of the women\'s movement.
Antoinette Brown was anther women that was not happy with the status
quo of women in society. She started, in 1846, by attending Oberlin college,
which only nine years before had become the first co-educational college.
Oberlin, although being very receptive of women in their women\'s department,
they did not let women take any courses besides the ones offered in the women
department. This lead to a conflict when Brown made her intentions of obtaining
a theology degree known. Brown won the battle to attend the classes she needed
for her degree, but this was by far not the last battle for equality she would
have to fight. Oberlan "refused to grant her a students license to preach.,"
and after her course work was completed Oberlan would not " allow her to take
part in the graduation ceremony, be licensed, ordained, or even have her name
registered on the class roll."(Reifert 76) It took three years, of hard looking
for Brown to find a Protestant Church that would allow her to be ordained.
Finally after all of her struggles Antoinette Brown was ordained the first
protestant female minister in America.
"Women in the early 1800\'s were discriminated against both as practitioner
and as patient."(Reifert 77) Women were thought that it was wrong for them to
seek help from doctors for any problems that had anything remotely to do with
their reproductive system. It was also thought that Women were to fragile to
deal with the work that goes with being a doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell saw first
hand the effects of the first problem mentioned. She watched a family friend
die because she was embarrassed to bring her problem to the attention of her
male doctor. Blackwell was not detoured by the Idea that no medical school
would take her, because she could not compete with males. After all almost
everyone at the time believed that "the female brain was different then the male
brain."(Reifert 78) Blackwell finally gained admittance to Geneva College after
a unanimous vote of the student body to let her in. This vote should not be
taken as a sign that men were becoming more accepting of women infiltrating what
was formally known as male only territory. It should be noted that most of the
students believed that either the vote was a joke or that Blackwell would not
stay around long. Blackwell proved all the