During the Progressive Era, women played a very important role in trying to bring about social change. They were concerned about a variety of issues. One issue that they were concerned with was the state of family life among the poor and particularly among immigrants. They had two main strategies to help deal with this problem.
Progressive women felt that these families were in bad situations in part because they were ignorant. The poorer women, it was felt, did not know how to do things like giving proper care to their children. This caused health and other problems for the children. The Progressive women proposed to remedy this problem through the settlement house movement. These houses were essentially community centers where poorer women could go to do things like getting educated on how to best care for their children and keep them healthy.
Progressive women also felt these families’ bad conditions arose in part from alcohol. They felt that men would waste money on alcohol instead of spending it on improving the lives of their wives and children. They felt that men would beat their wives and kids while drunk. They proposed to deal with this in part through education and the settlement houses. However, this was where temperance and prohibition came in. It was felt that a ban on alcohol would help to alleviate this problem.