Females on the Front: The Evolution of Women’s Rights and Societal Roles

Mrs. John Sandford’s work Woman in her Social and Domestic Character was published in 1833 from Industrial England.  The work is difficult to comprehend as its intent reach out to every wife in the country.  The intent of this work was to inform women of the ways in which they are influenced and who they influence as well as their responsibilities as the familial matriarch.  Sandford’s message comes directly from the text when she wrote “Domestic life is a woman’s sphere, and it is there that she is most usefully as well as most appropriately employed”1.  The author explicates the thesis of this section by saying women are in charge of the home and are best suited for tasks in and around the household.

I found all of the readings for Monday to be very peculiar; they all are dealing with women and their roles in society, but I can’t tell if they’re advocating for improvement of those rights or accepting what is observed as their natural position because women are perceived as more delicate or well-mannered.  Sandford supports this by writing “Delicacy is, indeed, the point of honour in woman.  And her purity of manner will ensure to her deference…”2.  This statement draws conclusions to women’s roles in society based on the socially acceptable mannerisms, making them seem weak and vulnerable.

Obviously these traits do not define women today.  With the recent surge in feminist movements and the push for better treatment of women, we have seen some incredible changes in large sectors of our society, specifically in the military.  These preconceived notions of delicate women and roles solely in the the household were shattered not only when Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver became the first two females in military history graduated Army Ranger School in August 20153, but also when all combat roles in all military branches opened to women in December 20154.  These two occasions are incredibly momentous in for women’s rights; the dainty female Sandford portrayed is long behind us.

Female Army Rangers

CPT Griest and 1LT Haver



As a commissioning officer into a combat arms branch within the next three months, this will affect me greatly as I will be working with females in a predominantly male environment.  I see this as an opportunity to widen perspectives and opportunities for all soldiers in the Army, regardless of gender.

The questions I pose to our class are:

Are there any other large changes we see on the horizon for women’s rights?

In what other ways do we see women’s potentials limited because of restrictions based on gender in our country?

  1. Sandford, Woman in her Social and Domestic Character, 1833 []
  2. Sandford, Woman in her Social and Domestic Character, 1833 []
  3. Macias, These 2 badass female Army Rangers just made history — here’s the grueling training they endured, 2015 []
  4. Rosenberg, All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Defense Secretary Says, 2015 []

One thought on “Females on the Front: The Evolution of Women’s Rights and Societal Roles

  1. I think it is very interesting that “all combat roles in all military branches” just opened for all women in 2015. That was only last year and women’s rights in this country have been around for quite some time. I am surprised only last year there were two women to graduate the “first two females in military history graduated Army Ranger School in August 2015”. It seems as though society is progressing, but at a very slow rate. Today, men and women are still paid an unequal amount for competing the same task, which I find incredibly backwards. With technology, and all the new advances society has made, one would think that the gender “issue” would have been resolved by now.
    As far as large changes on the horizon for women, I think there is a lot of work ahead, yes in this country, but on a global scale. There are millions of women outside of the US who are being suppressed and scrutinized against for their gender on a daily basis. The US has come very far, and we are still not perfect. Unfortunately, I think it will be a while till women are seen as equal to men in all aspects of life, including their daily rights.

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