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Women In 20th Century Europe

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Published: Tue, 16 May 2017

Women are the blessings; they are a gift from God because they play a vital role in every part of our life. From being infant till maturity an individual just need his mother to feed him, to control him, to motivate him, to love and to encourage him. (Young, 2010) Those unfortunate who had lost their mother during childhood can better understand the importance of women.

Women are able to serve men in every form that is a mother care for her child since birth, then a sister assists her brother in solving his problems, a wife supports her husband in order to make him successful and finally a daughter holds her father’s hand in order to share burden and difficulties.

Role of women can never be forgotten. They are an essential element since years and are struggling a lot for their family, their children and for their state. Before fifteenth century women were not given such regards, respect and honor as in today; but after eighteenth century women took the challenge to prove them as material by serving the world during World Wars (Pepek, 2000).

After the advents of French Revolution, there were crises everywhere that is, economic crises, people were not able to meet up their needs because of rise in bread prices, then financial crises because of France being bankrupt, social crises, etc. Both women and children were treated in a ruthless manner, they were threatened, coerced and thousands of women and children got dead. Due to which people start to migrate from Europe to other parts of the world (Stoff, 2008).

People before eighteenth century were not very much educated, they were illiterate who don’t know the difference between right and wrong, they were strong so they had ruled over women. Due to poor level of education, women were unaware of their basic rights so they follow the rules of their society that is they did the same as their mothers and sisters did in past. They consider them as inferior and men as dominant authority (Helms, 1997).

In Europe women were not allowed to enter in any reputable position, they were not a part of business world; they were not allowed to move beyond the four walls of house. Women were interested to serve their nation, so they themselves hold authority and led out certain movements for independence (Tudor, 2000).

Actually after French Revolution, several wars and events were conducted that is First World War and Second World War, Napoleon Era, Colonial period, Civil Pact, Russian Revolution, European Union, Cold War, etc. In all such events women played a vital role; proved themselves as materialistic, they hold guns, they serve as nurses, they led out movements for independence, they did food strikes, etc.

Finally in twentieth century women entered in business world; they enhanced their level of education, their market experience and took steps to further diverse their powers. After European Union, women quickly gained independence, they move out from their houses to work along with men. They gained voting rights and their presence was then confirmed by government.


Women have worked so long that it cannot be restricted to introduction only and if the topic is on European women then one can discuss up to years and years because history has discussed a lot about their efforts. Women always had an influential and powerful role in the prosperity, affluence and growth of any group of people (Radek, 2006). These roles have varied depending on the time period, geography and race of the people. As explained above that before eighteenth century European women performed as a care taker, as a nurse or as a mother, but women of twentieth century was a ruler, a warrior, professionals or a teacher.

Speaking about women of Europe then they are renowned for their hard work, bravery and valor. Besides being servants or the one who had faced a lot of restrictions they were still had a lot of passion and spirit to prove them. Later women became an agent to satisfy needs of people, to resolve their problems and to improve life conditions of women in European Union (Helms, 1997).

During the times of war, European families suffered from financial crises, in that era, they were under privileged to hold servants so women worked like slaves, that is, besides holding household duties they worked a lot for freedom movements (Pepek, 2000). Usually their day begin with starting the fire, then milking the cows, and creating cream and butter, that what the life style of poor European women then they spent the bulk of her morning preparing food for the day and bread for the dinner. Their afternoons were every now and then taken up by functioning in the garden, restoration, or taking grain to the miller (Young, 2010).

Besides being a daily house wife, her point in time also was seasonal, as she had to elevate the farm animals, make sausage, maintain bacon, and comprehensive the sewing of clothes. The workload obviously didn’t get easier for the women. They also had to take care of their own children as well (Stoff, 2008). There role was even harsh then that of men, they were only responsible for earnings but European women has to hold those earnings to adjust their life in accordance with the desired money.

At the commencement or inception of the twentieth century, the thoughts or ideas of nineteenth century on the subject of the separate, and incontrovertibly paradoxical, natures of men and women, which had been further exaggerated by the industrial revolution in defining computerized manual labor as the province or territory of men and the domestic responsibilities as the ordinary or natural domain of women, men and women’s relationships to and with each other in addition to society change (Helms, 1997). It was because they have realized the importance of women and the power they have, so a natural thought appear that the one who supports in crises can support throughout life.

In addition to that women had also decided to never restrict them inside the boundaries of house and to work along with men (Radek, 2006). Government of Europe then launched ‘Equal Employment Opportunities Plan’ with regard to access to employment, professional training and career development. It was then suggested to have equal votes of women in decision making, women workforce to gain maximum authority and participation of women in science research was made compulsory.

Speaking in terms of historical period of wars then European women played a vital role by supporting factories that is they went to work instead of men as all men were drafted into European armies. Women were the only soul to fill the economic and social needs that was performed by men preceding the war (Young, 2010). Due to the severity of World War I not only women but children suffered as well, they shed their blood, they strive from hunger but never divert or change their faith.

Some of the courageous women had decided to move along the battle field in order to serve their armies, so a group of Aristocratic nurses and Austro-Hungarian POW Relief went to assist them but there they become dishearten because they did not enjoy the positive response from the armies (Rubio, 2011). These women were not in supplementary medical positions assistant to male workforce, but rather they were in positions of authority and power assigned with the task of reporting on the conditions of the POWs within the camps and ensuring their loyalty to the Austro-Hungarian government. It was reported that during war times, men often found it complex to accept women as a care taker who were working outside their houses (Helms, 1997).

Besides this women fought for their personality as an individual because German Nazi and Italian Fascist which were led by Great Adolf Hitler and Mussolini respectively had clearly addressed that role of women is only to produce more children, but ‘Modern Feminist Movement’ which was led by Wollstonecraft stood along with women to bring Industrial Revolution. Women entered the workforce in huge numbers and a majority stayed in the workforce after the war (Tudor, 2000).

At the very initiation women faced difficulties; there were small number of women units. Some extremists were against their work so they brutally attacked those who work in factories, women rapes; killing and kidnapping were common in that period. Soon after observing the terrorism against women, provincial government set up voting privileges for women in order to enclose that from now onwards women will have complete rights to vote along with a small number of social rights (Stoff, 2008). It was then included in ‘Code of Communism’ that there will be no difference between men and women; they both carry equal rights and both can work together according to their level of talents.

European women also hand round as soldiers during the Russian Revolution and later World War II. After the rebellion, women hold rights to have equal opportunities in terms of education (Young, 2010). They become allowed to go to institution of higher education and to work in all fields of employment. The state opened the doors for medical care, education, and day-care for all women.

By gaining a diversified level of knowledge role of women in French society had reached at its peak. They represent themselves as a strong player in every field. Due to having enough education they mold themselves as an independent body that have their own identity and served Europe as being professionals (Radek, 2006). Throughout the century, upper class women inaugurated salons which are considered as most heavy work for inexperienced one and though they were inexperienced and less motivated to speak or debate but they had fulfilled their responsibilities by inviting intellectuals, scholars and philosophers to share their experience and to define the necessary ways to lead a successful life. Besides economic stability they cultivate social connections between those philosophers and the community of Europe. Also, they inaugurated various institutions to provide guiding principles for those women who want to be a part of prosperity (Helms, 1997).

European women who belong to lower or middle class did not lag behind in terms of their responsibility as already discussed that women began exercising their powers during the era of revolution by storming Bastille. They hold guns and shells; participated in bread strikes as they remained hungry for weeks and weeks, they assist in invading the palace of Versailles, arresting the Royal family and forming high-ranking political organizations.

Although they were women of twentieth century but due to their extra ordinary efforts, women of today are worthy. They were not very educated or some are completely illiterate but their role was incredibly modern (Tudor, 2000). It was reported in past that after the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, who was a scientist, a physician and a renowned character of European Revolution, by Charlotte Corday, another renowned figure from French Revolution, women felt broken and it seemed like that there democratic movement will would not precede.

Above mentioned women that is, Marat, Corday, Catherina Sforza, Isabella I along with Jacobin Terror were key figures who support women in every step but due to the heights of unfortunate both women were charged for engaging themselves in the political circles by supporting German Nazi in the reestablishment of France and for this act they were punished. Due to this people lost their belief and trust from them and thus they failed to revive their position again. They try to regain competitiveness by joining allied forces or by introducing the sense of modern Europe but got defeated (Stoff, 2008).

Earlier, France was the intellectual capital of Europe but when it got defeated by Germany, there were threats that due to France being a central figure, threat of war will always be there, so idea of continents having their own capital was doomed to disaster. Till that era, women were dominant enough to contribute their role through industrial revolution and some of them had put their steps in business world. Some women joined government and political offices so as to work for European Union (Tudor, 2000). The concept of “Feminism” was then discouraged as it has only promoted the rights for women whereas concept of communism was promoted as it has allowed all people of all classes to have equal rights.

Women were continuously climbing the stairs of success which was unacceptable for men to digest at any cost. It was difficult for them to work under women and to observe them holding authority or dominant position in any organization. The gender disturbance between men and women soon transformed into hostility and aggressiveness which then hold war between men and women in every field (Radek, 2006). It has been observed that men often avoid females; sometimes insulting or dishonoring them in front of seniors or juniors, there were lack of support and guidance but women then also fought and raised the flag of success through their skills, abilities and talent.

European women enjoyed a suitable position in Soviet Union and contributed there by educating young girls, they raised the minimum age of marriage because before eighteenth century childhood marriages were common (Radek, 2006). It was the women of twentieth century who contributed a sense of career and growth. They presented a prosperous role in times of Ottoman Empire as well by amalgamating the western style with that of east. In the later twentieth century laws were bring to an end that has limited the roles of women and women of Turkey then gained the right to vote (Vinciguerra, 2012).


The prosperous phase that Europe is now facing with is because of the women of twentieth century. They were the one who were responsible for generating peace, prosperity and success in Europe; they were diligent, honest, industrious, well planned, brave and trustable because besides controlling their house as a house wife they assisted their men in earnings. They always hold their husbands at the time of crises like they run out to work in factories at the time of war in order to bear their expenses, to maintain the economy of state and to avoid financial crises.

As far as thesis statement is concerned then European women had groomed a lot in twentieth century. They worked along with men from shoulder to shoulder, although there aim was to assist men but doing so their objective becomes vast and now they are holding such a dominant position in every sector, whether it is business, finance, politics, government, law, medicine etc. So, by observing such a tremendous growth women should be given equal rights as that of men as they are the one behind the success of men.

European women suffered a lot but never got that prestige that they really belong. So, in order to give them a pride of honor for their efforts, one can salute them with equal rights, protection and security.

It is because of European women that women all over the world are now building or developing their career and ate struggling to run accordingly with success.

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