Women in the Progressive Era Essay

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In the 1890s, American women emerged as a major force for social reform. Millions joined civic organizations and extended their roles from domestic duties to concerns about their communities and environments. These years, between 1890 and 1920, were a time of many social changes that later became known as the Progressive Era. In this time era, millions of Americans organized associations to come up with solutions to the many problems that society was facing, and many of these problems were staring American women right in the face.

Women began to speak out against the laws that were deliberately set against them. Throughout this time period, women were denied the right to vote in all federal and most state held elections. Women
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Progressivism was not just a single movement, rather it was several different organizations of people trying to accomplish their own goals. Keep in mind, this era was a few decades long, so many things were accomplished over a long period of time. Women exercised what they saw as their rights as citizens to shape public policy and create institutions.

Progressivism generally took two forms: Political and Social reform.What most social reformers found was that they could not rely on people doing the “right” and “moral” thing all the time. If law is going to be used for social reform, who is going to make the law? Politicians. However, politics and politicians were seen as a big part of the problem, not the solution, therefore, Progressives seen that the future for a new America ultimately depended on changing the government and politics.

Women acted through several various organizations during the Progressive Era, such as the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Consumers’ League (NCL), Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), and other various trade unions. Female reformers also lead the movement against child labor and the women’s suffrage campaign. They won minimum wage and maximum hours for women workers through Muller V. Oregon, public health programs for pregnant
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