Mona Caird

May 10, 2006

Mona Caird.jpg
(1854-1931) she's the one on the right

Feminist, essayist, novelist
Leader in the early struggle for equal rights for women.
Debated over the subordinate and legally circumscribed position of women in Britain
Finds a virtual slavery in marriage:  repressive social system that limits women's options and forces then to relinquish control over their own lives.

The Emancipation of the Family

     From The End of the Patriarchal Family (1890)

Quotations:

"Meanwhile, the spirit of liberty among women is increasing rapidly, and as soon as an approach to economic independence gives them the power to refuse, without harsh penalty, the terms which men have hitherto been able to dictate to them, in and out of marriage, we shall have some just right to call ourselves a free people.  It is then that marriage -at present a mere moldering branch of the patriarchal tree- must alter its nature and form."

"The 'contract' can no longer remain unequal, when women have some say in the making of laws which they have to obey, and it remains to be seen how tight and irrevocable men will be willing to make the bond which they, too, must literally carry out."

"In short, so amazing, so overwhelming are the demands made upon the woman, and so meager the rights granted to her, that the sense of the stupendous injustice is almost swallowed by the sense of the stupendous absurdity, and -as fortunately often happens in the study of English law and English opinion- the stress of indignant feeling finds timely relief in a burst of laughter."

"Equal rights for the two sexes; the economic independence of women (hanging in a great measure on the progress of our industrial evolution); the establishment, rapid or gradual, as may prove desirable, of real freedom in the home- this at last would bring us to the end of the patriarchal system.  May we speed the parting guest!"

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