How important were women to the Progressive Era?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Women were certainly very important to the Progressive Era, but they were not able to be important in every way.  They were very important in that they provided much of the impetus for reform.  However, they were not as important in the area of actual political action.  This is because women were not able to vote during the Progressive Era.

During the Progressive Era, many reforms were enacted.  Women were instrumental in bringing about a number of these reforms.  For example, women were the major driving force behind the push for the prohibition of alcohol.  Women had been the backbone of the temperance movement for decades and this continued to be true in the early part of the 20th century.  Women were also the most important force in attempts to improve the lives of poor people and immigrants.  They were the founders of, and main workers in, the settlement house movement.  These things show that women were quite important in pushing forward the social reforms of this era.

However, women were somewhat less important in bringing about political reform.  This is because they did not have much political clout due to the fact that they were not able to vote.  Political reforms were a big part of the Progressive Era and women were not able to be as important in that aspect of progressivism.  Therefore, we can say that women were rather important during this era but that they were not able to exert their influence in all aspects of the reforms of the time.

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