Women’s History In America
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The path to relative independence for women is not easy to chronicle. For the most, part history is told from a man’s point of view. Further, the experience of women cannot be told in a way that generalizes to all women. Variations in socio-economics and cultural background all impacted women’s experiences and the roles they adopted. The differences not only between the experiences of native-born Americans but also between the various ethnic groups compound the study of women’s roles in America. Between 1880 and 1930, 27 million immigrants entered America seeking opportunities and freedoms the United States could offer. Immigrants differed from their native-born counter parts in several ways. Most immigrants tended to marry within their own group. Further they were more likely to marry later in life. Despite marrying later, immigrant families tended to have more children. Nevertheless, similar to native-born families, immigrant families valued a traditional structure of two parents and children. This varied somewhat between immigrant groups. Italian and Jewish families had the highest rates of two-parent homes while the Irish had more single parent homes with the mother being the head of the household. Another similarity between immigrant and native-born Americans was the role of women as the heart of the family. It was her job to manage the household, raise the children and make the home a pleasing place for the father. Even financial management was the responsibility of the woman. A good husband was one who brought his paycheck home unopened and gave it to his wife.