In the entrance of women into the occupations of men, the former have done so well in their ventures that the men are complaining about the competition. In 1840 there were but seven occupations outside of domestic industry that were open to women; the number had risen to 287 in 1880 and every year adds to the list. These occupations call for ability to understand the work of machinery and to operate it; and in such an industry as the making of boots and shoes, which employs a large amount of machinery in all departments of the work, more than one-sixth of those employed are women.
In the occupations that call for business knowledge women are pushing everywhere; they are found in insurance, in real estate business, in mercantile establishments, in manufactories, in lawyers' offices, doing portions of the work of management, of marketing goods, of correspondence and of driving bargains.
--From Good housekeeping--
The Victorian Era: a time of changing gender roles and a greater self-awareness among women of their ability to compete with men.