Jane Addams and Civic Housekeeping Essay

1955 Words Mar 24th, 2014 8 Pages
Jane Addams and Civic Housekeeping:
Bringing Women into the Public Sphere

HIST 102: Introduction to U.S. History II
Professor Stacie Taranto
Phillip Gatto
December 5, 2013

In the early 20th century, more and more issues began to face cities of the United States. Specific issues that cities began facing more and more included the rise in poor sanitation and health concerns in local tenement housing. In order for women to gain access to the public sphere and emerge out of the private sphere, and gain some sort of status with the men of society, Jane Addams proposed the idea of “civic housekeeping” which would let women use their skills from the home in order to clean up the issues in local
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Getting women out of the home, being the private sphere, and into the public sphere through her ideas of “civic housekeeping” was Jane Addams’ main goal in society9. “Civil Housekeeping,” was a term that Addams used to refer to the cleaning up that women needed to do in tenement homes, local buildings, and more importantly, and more discretely, local government. Addams’ main goal was to eventually bring women into the public sphere and local government, through civil housekeeping. Since men were so fond of keeping women in the home, in order to clean, cook, or even just stay out of the men’s business, women began seeing themselves as possible saviors for issues that cities were facing. The way that women began seeing themselves was through expressing their skills that they used inside the home and applying them on a much larger scale, which would hopefully assist in resolving the problems in tenement homes and other areas of cities that were being affected by environmental circumstances. Jane Addams proposed her ideas to the men of society by explaining how well women work in the home, be it cooking, cleaning, etc., so why would they not be able to help clean up the tenement homes and other parts of the city, to help out other citizens and keep their families and homes alive. Addams’ of course had the ulterior motive of working her way, along with many more women in society, into the realm of local government, in the hopes of gaining more and more rights

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