How did the Women's Club Movement reflect both the growing political influence of women and the restrictions upon them? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The rise of the Women's Club Movement was a direct response to the restrictions placed on women in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Women were denied opportunities for growth and development in professional and personal realms.  Education and occupational chances to display a new dimension to their being were closed.  The result was that some social outlet was needed in which women could be lifelong learners and advance their own interests of growth and reflection.  The Women's Club Movement met this demand.

The Women's Club Movement represented the growing social and eventual political influence of women in America.  The Women's Club Movement recognized that before and after the Civil War, women were critical forces in mobilizing and articulating conditions of being that were more than simply "the hearth."  The Women's Club Movement helped to start the process of socially transforming how women were seen.  The movement understood that political change could only happen if there was a social transformation:  "During the Progressive Era, volunteer women's clubs shifted their attention to the betterment of their communities. They lobbied for improved labor laws for women and children, safe food and drug laws, and municipal reform."   It is in this light where the women's club movement sought to increase the political influence of women as a distinct response to the restrictions placed upon them.