Essay on Jane Addams and Civic Housekeeping

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Jane Addams and Civic Housekeeping:
Bringing Women into the Public Sphere

HIST 102: Introduction to U.S. History II
Professor Stacie Taranto
Phillip Gatto
December 5, 2013

In the early 20th century, more and more issues began to face cities of the United States. Specific issues that cities began facing more and more included the rise in poor sanitation and health concerns in local tenement housing. In order for women to gain access to the public sphere and emerge out of the private sphere, and gain some sort of status with the men of society, Jane Addams proposed the idea of “civic housekeeping” which would let women use their skills from the home in order to clean up the issues in local
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By starting the tenement houses in Chicago through the Hull Houses, Jane Addams and Ellen Starr had already begun their journey into the public sphere. Through opening the tenement houses and allowing people to see them and come live in them helped the two women make a name for themselves, with the more well-known woman of the pair being recognized for much more, was Jane Addams herself. Addams saw rights and freedom for women as a “perfectly possible” thing to attain, as she was optimistic and very assertive on her way to work for women’s equality and rights. The optimism that Jane Addams had was not without a price to pay on her part, as there were many negatives that had to be dealt with along the way like setbacks in acting, legislation, supporters, etc.7 These settlement housing complexes, along with other emerging municipally supported housing and projects, were failing considerably as time went on, in more ways than not. Ways these housing and government projects were failing were in hygiene and sanitation, in addition to perishable products that went uninspected, like meat and dairy products, which eventually made citizens very ill, and even killed a few. Local factories emitting toxic fumes also did not help the issue at all8 Toward the late 19th century, as more and more women began entering the workforce and emerging from the home, into the

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