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Until the Age of Enlightenment women had always been considered inferior to men. Towards the end of the 1700's, the rise of the Industrial Revolution brought great changes in Britain. The changes spread also to the conditions of women, which began to work in factories, albeit with lower salaries and less political and social rights than men.
In the 1800's the women of the upper classes began to attend schools and became more aware of the own rights. In Great Britain this movement came to be called "Feminism", and was led by women (known as suffragettes) that demanded the right to vote. In the first half of the 1900's women gained access to a vast array of jobs, not only as labourers but also as teachers, nurses, doctors and lawyers. The first female doctor was Maria Montessori, one very self-assured Italian woman.
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