Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Brief History of Women’s Clubs and Organizations

“…the male voices typically speak ‘of the role of separation as it defines and empowers the self,’ while female voices speak of the ongoing process of attachment that creates and sustains the human community.” – Carol Giligan’s study on Psychological Theory and Women’s Development.

In the 19th century women began to ban together in the United States because of the separation of men and women in the public sphere politically and domestically. The emergence of the women’s suffrage movement, the women’s club movement, and the twentieth-century women’s liberation movement are all approaches women have taken to gain access into the public field. “Club women hoped to improve the status of women, encourage self-improvement and bring new respect to women in the public sphere.” -Jill Mulvey Derr

Early feminists throughout the world formed coalitions and clubs in order to defend and gain women’s rights. Clubs were also established in order to educate women in art, literature, community welfare and involvement, education, politics and much more. “Clubs not only helped educate women but also provided a setting in which women could share their lives and support each other in difficulties…clubs ‘inevitably had the effect of cultivating in women an appreciation for each other’…and that members should have ‘due consideration for the opinions and feelings of others.” -Jill Mulvey Derr

In 1896 Romania B. Pratt described women’s clubs as,” helping to create a mighty force of woman’s power which will raise the standard of morals in the world and spiritualize and refine the material and physical in man and thus hasten the era of peace on earth and good will to all men.” As women from around the United States assembled in clubs, societies and organizations and affiliated with state and national councils and federations, women from different faiths and backgrounds bridged differences and strengthened connections among themselves and in their communities. For the most part, early club members were strong Christian women who believed in traditional family and religious values. With an open door policy (not among all clubs) women were able to combine their intellect and talents into protecting their firmly held beliefs but also expand their liberties as women in society.

Women would gather together and hold meetings in one another’s homes, and as the club would expand, new facilities were found to accommodate growth. They took pride in their self-worth and took turns researching and writing papers and articles that they would deliver to one another to stimulate intellectual growth. They would hold fundraisers and gather donations to help forward their cause. They would assemble at women’s conferences to discuss and find solutions to political movements that disagreed with their religious and personal beliefs of conduct. And then they would combine together as one voice in defense for their cause.

In 1892, in defense of women’s clubs, Mary Ann Freeze wrote in the Women’s Exponent, (a religious women’s magazine)”while the duties of home come first of all…aside from that there is much women can do to bless herself and humanity at large. Through going abroad and mingling with her sisters, she will learn…important truths not to be learned in seclusion from society, hence I think we are apt to appreciate too highly this important factor in the higher education of women.” Mary Ann Freeze recognized the good that could come from women’s clubs and communicated that knowledge to others.

While women’s clubs no longer seem to be what they once were, WOV hopes to recreate that spirit of love and sisterhood to stimulate respect and appreciation for women. Women of Virtue are here to unify ourselves to bring virtue back into our lives and our children’s future that they might be able to enjoy the same standard of living that once was normal in daily existence. WOV hopes to give women an opportunity to research and publish intelligently written articles and papers defending virtue. Let us strengthen one another and our governments. Let us ban together as Women of Virtue and make a difference just as these great women of the past have done. Let us accept one another and get over our differences. Let us have an open door policy so all women can join in our fight for virtue.

WOV encourages members and women to conduct research and gain knowledge on statistics and facts and personal stories. These articles can include: abortion, homosexuality, the traditional family unit, chastity, God, modesty and political values or any other issue that involves virtuous living. Please keep all comments and articles respectful and within good taste.

1 comment:

Andrea Koon said...

You girls are amazing for doing this! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help with this organization!