Georgian Era Women: The Georgian era was a period of lavish and splendid architecture, literature, music, and style. One can say that the world we know today has its base right in this era. In fact, the Georgian era gave us our most famous writers, painters of the Industrial Revolution.
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Georgian Era Society
As far as women of the Georgian era is concerned, it is needless to say that they occupied lower status than their male counterparts.
It was a male-dominated society and as before marriage girls were under the control of their fathers, the control passed on to the husband after marriage.
Marriage Custom for Georgian Era Women
The age of consent for marriage for girls was 12 and for boys, it was 14. Girls who preferred not to marry or remained single for any reason were considered as misfortune and women of any class would not prefer to mingle with such women.
Even Jane Austin, the well-known writer, never married and after her father’s death she always depended on the goodwill of her brothers and mostly suffered from poverty and lack of freedom.
Georgian Era Marriage
Even though couples were engaged early, but marriages usually took place when they were in their twenties, more financially secured and when their apprenticeships had ended which usually took place between the age of 7 and 14.
Marriage was a lifelong commitment and so, choosing the life partner, especially for women, required great care. However, for most of the unhappy marriages, the only escape was when the wife or the husband died.
Georgian Era Women in Literature
Georgian literature is said to be the gift of time. Although Georgian era brought to us some of the great writers like Jane Austin, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, it was the women writers who have stood the test of time.
The works of Mary Shelley and Jane Austin are as much celebrated in the Second Elizabethan era of the present time as it was during the time they lived. In fact, Jane Austen is celebrated all over the world even today.
Music & Women
Women in Georgian era were expected to learn music and play at least one instrument or sing, just to be as a form of entertainment for family and friends as well as to be a perfect host at times when needed.
One of the most popular instruments that women played was the harpsichord. The guitar was also a popular instrument that women played during this era.
There was no education system during the Georgian era. Usually, Sunday schools were where children received education and in wealthier families, it was through tutors and governesses.
Although there were “Schools for women”, but they had a bad reputation because education received there was poor. However, sending sons to tutor’s home for attaining education was a common trend during that time.
Economic Opportunities for Women in the Georgian era
During the Georgian era, women of the “genteel” class were not allowed to be independent or strike out on their own. Professions, universities and even politics were not open to women. And since willingness to improve the family’s financial position was a matter of concern for girls also, the only option for them was married.
The only occupation that was open for women of that time was that of a governess which usually was a live-in teaching profession for the daughters and young children of any family. Since this was not so respected profession, they were not very well paid and also had not so good working conditions.
With such a limited option, marriage became vital for women in the Georgian era. Unmarried women lived with their families or with the protectors approved by their families.
Even if the girl was to be an heiress, she could not live on her own. That is the reason why even Queen Victoria had to have her mother living with her in her palace until she married Prince Albert.
Women’s Jewellery in the Georgian era
Short necklaces were in fashion during the Georgian era. Women usually wore chokers or reveries which had diamond or gemstones studded in a row. Some used draped chain in multiple rounds to form a necklace.
Initially diamonds were the most desirable stones, but later on colorful stones like rubies, emerald and sapphires were brought back into popular fashion.
Fashion in the Georgian era
Women’s fashion during the Georgian era was considered with elaboration, greater abundance and intricacy as far as the clothing designs were concerned. To the extent that women wore exaggerated full skirts with frills and bows.
The hairstyle was elaborate and they had their hair pulled up and piled extremely high. Later during this period, naturalness became the style and women’s hair became more natural.