Women’s History and Divorce

Since this is Women’s History Month, I thought it would be interesting to explore the subject of divorce and the role it’s played in our history as women.  Divorce has been a part of human history for centuries.  Just like you and I, women throughout history have faced unique challenges and experiences with divorce. Here are five examples of unique divorce-type stories I found:

The divorcee who defied social norms: In the early 20th century, divorce was still highly stigmatized, particularly for women. However, women such as writer Edith Wharton and feminist Susan B. Anthony defied social norms by divorcing their partners and continuing to live independent lives.

The suffragette who divorced for political reasons: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many women who were involved in the suffragette movement were also seeking greater freedom and independence in their personal lives. Suffragette Caroline Norton divorced her abusive husband in the mid-19th century, using her own story to advocate for greater legal rights for women.

The woman whose divorce was a political scandal: In the 1960s, Margaret Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, filed for divorce in a highly publicized scandal. Her divorce highlighted the challenges faced by women in positions of power and the complexities of personal and political life.

The Hollywood starlet who divorced for love: In the early 20th century, Hollywood star Mary Pickford divorced her first husband to marry fellow actor Douglas Fairbanks. The couple’s relationship was seen as scandalous at the time, but they went on to become one of the most famous couples in Hollywood history.

The woman who divorced for economic reasons: Throughout history, women have sometimes been forced to divorce for economic reasons, such as to escape poverty or to inherit property. In the 19th century, some women in the United States sought divorce in order to gain greater control over their financial futures, as they were not legally allowed to own property or control their own finances within marriage.

I found these reasons interesting. None of them were the reason that I divorced, were any of them the reason you divorced?  In my many discussions with women who reach out to Rediscovering U, my perception is that generally they feel victimized as they go through this process of ending a marriage. I don’t know if that’s true or not it’s just my perception. However looking at these examples from history, I have to admire women who took charge of their own life and proceeded with divorce for very specific reason. I’d be interested in your assessment of this information – has it served women? How do you look at it?  Please send me an e-mail with your thoughts so I can share them with the community. Appreciate you!

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