Women in the Household essay

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With respect to the changing trends in the society, it is a fundamental fact that women in the society are bombarded with the ever present issue of cultural messages and advice regarding how they are supposed to carry out their duties. In light of this, Ruth Schwartz Cowan in her history of household technology paints a clear picture of the cultural forces that shape the destiny and the transformation of the modern woman. In this regards, history is found to be very helpful in the sense that there are two opposing viewpoints in the society with respect to how women should be treated. In modern society, there is the approach taken up by the liberals and the conservatives. The traditional family, as it’s currently conceptualized, has its origins in the period of time before the Civil War to what is referred to as the antebellum period. This is the period that has been found to have the greatest impact and cultural support with respect to the woman’s work at home.

Women of the Antebellum Period

History dictates that the status of the household woman was at its peak between the years 1830m and 1860. The reasons provided for this is in the sense that during the First World War, the term ‘home’ did not only refer to a dwelling place. This term became a reference of a place where people had emotional attachment in the wake of the war. It also became a place where both adults and children were nurtured. These are some of the factor’s that led to a significant cultural shift keeping in mind that prior to the Revolutionary Way, fathers were held responsible for raising their children. This went to an extent where fathers would be granted custody of their children due to the reception that they were responsible for the upkeep of their children. Interestingly enough, some of the books regarding parenthood were directed to fathers at the time.

The Decline of Domesticity: 1865-1920

The decline of domesticity was brought about by among other factors such as the end of the Civil War between 1860 and 1970. During this period, this period also saw the development of ‘women slavery’ in the sense that the society produced an influx of ideology in which women were seen in the society. Slavery is one of the most ancient practices in the history of mankind. This practice dates back to the pre-historic period probably 8000 BC in North Africa particularly in Egypt. During earlier years, slavery was considered as a social stratification. However, the practice of mass slavery requires both economic surpluses and a high population density for it to take place. This is why even in modern day situation; the most affected areas by slave practices are regions that have a large population density. This is particularly in the Middle East where even in early years, this region was the hub of the slave trade popularly known as the Arab Slave Trade.

However, the slave trade was eventually abolished a situation that saw a new dawn mostly for the victims of the slave trade.  During the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, women were commonly outnumbered by men in the trade. The situation was such that a woman was carried across the Atlantic per every two men. The main reason why men were preferred in the Trade is because they were the preferred choice for the American and European buyers. The captains of slave ships were usually instructed to buy as high a proportion of men as they could, because men could be sold for more in the Americas. As a result of this, women arrived in the American colonies and the European region as minorities. However, early statistics show that the number of men working in plantations in the colonies was relatively equal to the number of women working in the same. This led to the conclusion that perhaps there were other ways that women were finding their ways into the American colonies and the European region

One of the main factors that have changed the role of women in modern household is the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). Since the implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), there has been mixed results as a result of the same. One of the most affected individuals is the women and children particularly low income earners in the society. The act has been successful in changing welfare forma federal entitlement program to a program that is basically run by the state. “The welfare reform act is basically under four basic principles that are cumulative lifetime and employment time limits, increased child support and enforcement, reduction of teenage pregnancies and creation of work programs that support service delivery”. The aim of this paper is to explore the effects of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) on women who together with children are the most affected parties by this act.


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