Journal article

Marriage as bondage: the anomaly of the citizen wife.

M Lake

Australian Historical Studies | Published : 1999

Abstract

The meaning of marriage for women was a hotly disputed issue in Australia during the first half of the twentieth century and beyond. Conscious of their status as citizens, interwar feminists became preoccupied with the anomalous condition of wives in a modern democracy. The provision of personal service in exchange for keep, the condition of wives was defined as an anachronism, a political relic, a form of feudal bondage. Feminists campaigned for the economic independence of married women, demanding legislation that would give wives legal ownership of household savings as well as a legal entitlement to a share in their husbands' wages.