Literature Study GuidesWomen And Economics

Women and Economics | Study Guide

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Course Hero. "Women and Economics Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Oct. 2018. Web. 5 July 2020. <>.

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Course Hero. (2018, October 26). Women and Economics Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 5, 2020, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Women and Economics Study Guide." October 26, 2018. Accessed July 5, 2020.


Course Hero, "Women and Economics Study Guide," October 26, 2018, accessed July 5, 2020,



Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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At a Glance

  • The "first wave" of American feminism began in the 19th century. It sought equality of opportunity for women, with a focus on attaining suffrage, or the right to vote. However, some women's rights activists argued that gender equality and social progress demanded a fundamental reorganization of society.
  • American writer and women's rights activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman was among those who felt women must be liberated from their confinement to the roles of mother and housewife and the accompanying economic dependence on their husbands.
  • In 1898 Charlotte Perkins Gilman challenged the economic subordination of women in her book Women and Economics. Gilman used evolutionary biology and socialist and economic theory, as well as sociological observations, to analyze and criticize the traditional institutions of marriage, home, and family.
  • Gilman's solution lies in changing the current structure of society and echoes prominent socialist intellectuals such as Karl Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–95).
  • Women and Economics made Gilman an instant celebrity and one of the most prominent intellectual leaders of the women's rights movement.
  • Gilman's work was largely forgotten by the mid-20th century. In the 1960s, however, it was rediscovered and embraced by a new generation of feminists who felt the book spoke to the problems they faced in their own lives.


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