Introduction: Life and Activities
There are a lot of outstanding women whose contribution into the life of simple Americans and the citizens of the whole world seems too little, however, looking at the general tendencies it appears that these women take very important places in the development of the social opinion. The role of women in the development of social relationships all over the world is a complicated issue.
It should be stated that almost all over the world women were limited in their rights up to a particular time. Each time period, each country and each epoch has its own woman who struggled for women rights. Jane Cunningham Croly was one of such women at her time. Being born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England, on the 19th of December 1829, Jane Cunningham Croly was the fourth child a family.
She has never been a dreamer as well as she was not “speculative theorist spinning impossible things out of the cobwebs of her brain” (Various 9), remembers her brother. Therefore, having no specific dreams and realistically looking in the future, the life of Jane Cunningham Croly has affected the whole British and American society as being born in one country she lived and died in another one.
The Nation’s First Syndicated Woman’s Columnist
Starting the discussion of Jane Cunningham Croly’s achievements, it should be stated that she was the first syndicated woman’s columnist in the USA. Additionally, she created the General Federation of Women’s Club and fought for equal rights for women. Her activities affected the life of the USA and her life was essential for British women (Jane Cunningham Croly).
The manner of thinking and expressing her thoughts made this woman known in New York. She was accepted as a journalist in one of the newspapers of New York and she proved that women are not limited in their views, that women can also be educated, speak about essential problems in the society, politics, economics, etc.
The problem of women inequality with men had been considered in the society and Jane Cunningham Croly was one of those who wanted to contribute to the movement, and her journalistic activity was that measure. Starting writing the articles about “fashion, beauty, social gatherings, drama, news, advice, and career for women” (Whitt 11) Jane Cunningham Croly further became the first woman who wrote the first syndicated column for women and who started to teach journalism at a college level (Whitt 11).
Why was it too important for a woman to have a syndicated column? It was obvious that having received an opportunity to write regularly on the pages of a respected edition, Jane Cunningham Croly received a chance to write about women, their problems and desires, their intentions and achievements. Stressing on the problem of gender inequalities, Jane Cunningham Croly managed to state that the problem existed.
Many women reading her column began to be inspired for actions, they knew that they were not alone in that world. Croly was encouraged to write about “dominant cultural norms such as lacing that rendered women frail and weak, as well as the inherent inequities in a legal system that did not guarantee women equal property ownership” (Roessner “No Sex in Labor” 21). Therefore, it may be concluded that the whole professional career of a journalist was devoted to equal rights of men and women.
Equal Rights for Women
One of the most famous phrases of Jane Cunningham Croly is “there is no sex in labor” (in Roessner “The Great Wrong” 178). Jane Cunningham Croly began to fight for women’s rights after she once was rejected to attend a male event.
This specific situation frustrated her and encouraged for creating the General Federation of Women’s Club (Roessner “The Great Wrong” 182). Many people considered her actions as the radical ones, however, it seems that she just acted in accordance with the needs of the time. Women were ready to have personal club, they were ready to be independent and free.
They just needed a leader and Jane Cunningham Croly was a great candidate for this role. Fighting for women rights, Jane Croly was sure that having equal access to education and professional careers are the most important issues which were to be considered. In 1887, trying to express the seriousness of her actions and intentions, Jane Croly wrote,
Women have come to the front, they have found the voice, they have associated themselves together and they have knocked at great educational doors until they have been opened to them… we have women in the majority as teachers, women who have won fame as preachers, lawyers, doctors and artists, women in plenty, who hold their own and support themselves and others in every avocation in life (Roessner “The Great Wrong” 184).
One of the main positions of Jane Cunningham Croly was that there was nothing a woman could not do. Such position was very important as having created the General Federation of Women’s Club she had to prove to the whole society and especially to men that women have an opportunity to be independent.
Speaking about the role of Jane Cunningham Croly in women’s movement for equal rights, it should be stated that this women gave an opportunity to others to believe in themselves. It is important for women to make sure that they are supported and Jane Cunningham Croly was that support, she was a leader.
The Founder of the General Federation of Women’s Club
The creation of the General Federation of Women’s Club was a reaction to the denial to give a ticket for a woman journalist to Dickens’s arrival. Such event was considered as the inability to recognize women as the part of the society, therefore, Jane Cunningham Croly decided to make a society to recognize her (King 68).
The role of this specific club in the development of the women movement cannot be overestimated. It is important to mention that it was the first women’s club on the territory of the USA. Women gathered there for many reasons, however, the desire to have common themes for discussion, to dwell upon specific topics, read literature and discuss such male themes as politics and economics was important.
Even though women gathered there to speak about literature, fashion, men and other women themes, it was important that such gathering was. Many women believed in their power. While the meetings in those clubs, women discussed their opportunities and expressed dissatisfaction. “The federation gave the women’s clubs national visibility and power and encouraged a trend that was already underway – the shift in emphasis from self-improvement to public libraries” (King 68).
Therefore, it should be concluded that the role of Jane Cunningham Croly was essential in British and American society. Fighting for women rights this woman managed not only to declare some freedoms for women, it is possible to see real results of her job. First, working as a journalist, she achieved free writing in the newspaper.
Having got the right to run personal syndicated column, Jane Cunningham Croly had an opportunity to express her vision of the place of women in the society. Second, this woman contributed to the development of women’s rights. She created the first Women’s Club which role was great. She made it possible for men and women to study on the equal basis as well as to get similar positions.
Once Jane Cunningham Croly was said that her writing in the newspaper had nothing different from male writing to which she replied that labor has no sex. Both men and women deserve to study the sciences they want to and to work in the conditions they require. Jane Cunningham Croly was a great woman of her time. She reminded men that women were not just the housewives, that they could take a deserving place in the society if they were given an opportunity to.
Generally, Jane Cunningham Croly shown the society that even though women were not given the spectrum of rights men possessed, it was possible to fight for personal rights and in this case it was possible to achieve the desired goals. Jane Cunningham Croly on her personal example showed that a great desire to achieve something could going to be rewarded if one tried to do it.
“Jane Cunningham Croly.” National Women’s Hall of Fame, 2011. Web. https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/jane-cunningham-croly/
King, Kelley M. Call Her a Citizen: Progressive-Era Activist and Educator Anna Pennybacker. Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2010. Print.
Roessner, Amber. “The Great Wrong.” Journalism History 38.3 (2012): 178-188. Print.
Roessner, Lori. “”No Sex in Labor”: Tracing “Jennie June’s” Views on Gender.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association: 2009 Annual Meeting, 2009. 1-26. Print.
Various. Memories of Jane Cunningham Croly, Jenny June. New Jersey: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Print.
Whitt, Jan. Women in American Journalism: A New History. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Print.