Jessie Ackermann

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Jessie Ackermann (July 4, 1857 – March 31, 1951) was an American social reformer, feminist, journalist, writer and traveller.


  • On the situation of women in society ...
    "Too often", Ackermann declared at the National Purity Congress, "the code of morals given to Moses" has been "interpreted as a special command for women and the violation of those laws regarded as a sin only when offended against by woman. With this sentiment pervading all conditions of society, those who would be reformers indeed must enter upon systematic effort to overthrow a false idea concerning the relative position of man and woman..."

 Australia from a Woman's Point of View[edit]

Ackermann's book Australia from a Woman's Point of View was "a significant commentary on the position of women in Australia in the early twentieth century". Recorded in the book, among her impressions of the country at that time, her work for the Australian WCTU work and her travels, she expressed the following opinions, which not only show the range of her interests and her observational powers but reveal many of the concerns of Western women who were working to improve their position in society at the end of the 19th century:

  • On divorce laws ...

There is also that relic of the ages so remote that one can hardly recall the 'when' of it – the unequal grounds for divorce; giving man all the advantage and licence which was granted, or rather, which he took, when Time was still young. The legal establishment of two codes of morals in the divorce law, one for men and one for women, is strangely out of tune with the setting of a new country.

  • On law reform ...

It is not overstating the situation to say that there are scores of legislators perfectly innocent of any knowledge of law generally. Even men of the legal profession, and, indeed, administrators of justice are not fully aware of the inequality of many of the laws.

  • On women's wages ...
A girl who must wholly depend upon it [shop and factory work] for a livelihood cannot live a decent life. Much of the evil into which young girls fall is due to the cruelly low price paid for their services. Australia may be, and probably is, a working man's paradise, but it is far from a celestial condition for working and business girls. Domestic service is the only well paid occupation for women and girls.

On the education of girls ...
It becomes the duty of parents to see that their daughters do not go to the wall in the hard and fierce struggle which is pressing them into service beyond the limits of the home, demanding better preparation for every walk of life.