The Role of Women in History

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Women have played a major role in history. They have been present in society as long as men, and yet have only been so recently, albeit slowly, being recognized and welcomed into the arms of equality in terms of how they are treated, and what their rights are as members of the changing world. The world used to be comprised of men, with women often being pushed to the background as partners, and often as just a few steps up the ladder from being mere objects. Women were the mothers and the sisters and the partners of many of the famous male figures throughout history, but have never really received the equality and rights that was needed for them to maximize their capacities as persons beyond the roles being allotted to them by tradition and culture.The Yellow Wallpaper, which Gilman wrote during the 1890s, shows us a typical picture of the idealized woman as a figure moving within the private sphere of the home, while the man was both a private and a public figure. The woman was domesticated, functions preferably as a mother and as a wife, like the character portrayed in the story. The character was postpartum, and was worrying about her inability to perform her duties to both her husband, and her child. She was portrayed as incapacitated, but it would seem that this was because she knew of no other function than to bend to the will of society’s proclaimed master of her person, and that would be her husband. A writer by the name of Jane Swisshelm wrote on an editorial speaking for the women of her time who were constantly portrayed as domestic individuals with no world beyond the home, We have watched women…doing all sorts of drudgery, against which public opinion had not one word to say, and thinks I to myself, thinks I, if anyone should propose that these women should take any part in making or executing the laws that regulate the reward and relations of labor, what a lecture he would get from public opinion, about feminine delicacy, female weakness, domestic duties, and all that sort of thing!