What Was the Role of Women in Victorian Times?

Written by caryn kelly
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What Was the Role of Women in Victorian Times?
Victorian women had family-oriented roles. (Victorian village image by Steve Thompson from Fotolia.com)

The Victorian era spanned from 1837 to 1901, a time when women were confined to taking care of the home and not much else. The Victorian woman was a wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, and nurse and succumbed to the roles of the class into which she was born.

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Victorian women belonged to nobility, gentry, middle, or the upper or lower working class according to birth circumstances. It was a crime to mimic the roles of a class to which a woman didn't belong.


A Victorian woman was expected to be submissive, innocent and dutiful and adhere to the demands of her husband without question. She was not encouraged to become educated, work outside the home or voice her opinions.


A Victorian woman was expected to get married, bear lots of children and manage the house while her husband worked. Lack of birth control contributed to a woman's inability to choose how many children she wanted.


A Victorian woman typically rose before dawn and cooked on cast-iron stoves, cleaned, made clothes, and grew and cultivated the food to feed her growing family. Upper-class women may have had maids and cooks to help.


A Victorian woman, regardless of her own health, took care of sick family members. Many people were afflicted with and died of influenza, tuberculosis, heart disease, typhoid fever, malaria, measles and polio.

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