Essay about Charlotte Perkins Gilman's “Women and Economics”

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote for and spoke to an audience throughout the United States during the Progressive Era where changes were occurring due to industrialization. In “Women and Economics”, Gilman, described the constraints American women faced for economic freedom. Gilman began her analysis by exploring in depth the values of a wife/women, and the restrictions on women’s work within the capitalist economy. She considered the loss of individuality and societal productivity the cause to restrictions of a wife/women’s work and economic dependency on men.
Gilman’s “whole argument” in her book is fairly straightforward. She began by exploring women’s economic dependence on men, forcing women to become more feminine but less human. These women roles would only serve detrimental in their social and economic potential. However, she believed this process or lifestyle would only reverse itself once women learn to stand on their own two feet and fulfill their human potential. Economic independence for women could only benefit the society as a whole and bring true freedom.


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