The New Woman: Feminism in Greenwich Village, 1910-1920

The New Woman: Feminism in Greenwich Village, 1910-1920

The New Woman: Feminism in Greenwich Village, 1910-1920

The New Woman: Feminism in Greenwich Village, 1910-1920

Excerpt

The experience of those feminists who lived in New York's Greenwich Village during the 1910's suggests at least two larger perspectives: first, it symbolizes the "new woman" who emerged in the early part of this century -- a woman who left the home for the factory, a career, and the marketplace; second, it illustrates the dilemma of the cultural reformer in American society. Feminists wanted a wholesale revolution in American values and in the social and economic structure of American life. They rejected modest goals for ambitious ones. But, being Americans, they used a reformer's methods. The difficulties that resulted from the conflict of radical aims and reformer means are recounted in the following pages.

The new woman was a sociological fact by 1910. The Census Report of that year noted that more American women were working than ever before. This also meant that more women were gaining advanced education than ever before. In the academic year 1909-1910, 10 per cent of all Ph.D. degrees from American universities were given to women; by the end of the decade, the figure was 15.1 per cent. Never before had this percentage been matched -- nor has it since. To many observers . . .

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