Firstly, motherhood was almost always separated fromanything sexual.

At the beginning of Victoria's reign, about a fifth of adult males were entitled to vote. That proportion increased, through parliamentary reform acts passed in 1867 and 1884, to one-third and two-thirds respectively.

Laws designed to benefit men overwomen were hard to overlook.

Theseparate spheres framework holds that “men possessed the capacity forreason, action, aggression,

Refusal of sex was grounds for annulment of marriage (Perkin 64).

This stark contrast is explained by two linked factors. Ireland, the Protestant north east around Belfast excepted, did not experience an industrial revolution in the Victorian age.

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These figures, however, mask an enormous contrast. While the population of England and Wales increased by some 116% (15 million to 32.5 million), that of Ireland almost halved (eight million to 4.5 million), its population declining in every decade of the reign.

Women inhabited a separate, privatesphere, one suitable for the so called

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This ticking demographic timebomb had far-reaching consequences. Large numbers of Irish Catholics - both those who stayed and those who left - blamed the British government for the famine and saw in it the ultimate proof that the Act of Union had been a ruse from which Britain benefited and for which Ireland continued to suffer.

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New loyalties were needed to fill some of the vacuum caused by the demise of close-knit rural communities, and they didn't come from the church. Many of the middle class (itself a new term dating only from 1812) became concerned about the godlessness of the working classes when it emerged that only 50 per cent of the eligible population attended a church service on Census Sunday in 1851.

The majority of women did not have the optionnot to marry: it was simply a necessity for survival.

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Working life was becoming increasingly regulated, and the working week was reorganised to promote ever-greater efficiency. The old custom of St. Monday - when no work was done - was gradually phased out and to compensate, work stopped around midday on Saturday and did not resume until Monday morning. A new division between 'work' and 'leisure' emerged, and this new block of weekend leisure time coincided with the development of spectator sports like cricket and football, and the rise of music hall entertainment for the new working classes.

Indeed it is understandable to see why many women sawmarriage as falling

Prostitution thus was a directidentification of women as “the Sex.”

Such a biased idea was one of many doublestandards in Victorian society, which demanded unquestionablecompliance from women and none from men, since the women were thoughtto be controlled by their sexuality and were thus in need of regulation.

A Victorian Era Research Paper is quick to point out the following elements:

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But if the Anglican Church was seen to be losing the working classes, Methodism was increasingly popular. It fitted the ethos of the age. Commerce and business brought a new spirit of self-help, popularised in the 1859 book of the same name by Samuel Smiles, with the opening line, 'Heaven helps those who help themselves'. Methodism stressed hard work and self-discipline, and this sentiment was reflected in the rise of evening classes for the working classes.