There are racial struggles and examples of racism, (Muggle-borns, centaurs, hous-elves, goblins, etc.) but are there any examples in the Wizarding World of sexism? Have witches and wizards always had equal rights?
It seems that men and woman always had equal rights in the wizarding world even from ancient times,
There are many mentions of 'Witches' in wizarding world from canon sources even from establishment of Hogwarts, which was done by two women and two men.
Hogwarts staff was always been taken care to be balanced in ratio of men and woman by JK Rowling
McCormick: This is a question from Bridget from Toronto, and she's 12. Bridget's wondering, "Why did you create a magical society where men and women play such traditional roles? It seems most of the women Wizards pitter and patter around the house while the men do all the dark work."
Rowling: [laughs] That's not entirely true, because if you look at Professor McGonagall, she's a very, very powerful witch, and she's in a position of power. And in fact, if you look at the Hogwarts' staff - I had this discussion with someone the other day - it is exactly 50/50. Although it is true that you do have a headmaster as opposed to a headmistress, but that has not always been the case. As you will find out, there have been equal numbers of headmistresses.
Transcript of the interview is here
As far as the Ministry of magic is concerned, the first women was elected in 1798 and prior to that, there were no women who hold high positions.
- 1707-1718: Ulick Gamp
- 1718-1726: Damocles Rowe
- 1726-1733: Perseus Parkinson
- 1733-1747: Eldritch Diggory
- 1747-1752: Albert Boot
- 1752-1752: Basil Flack
- 1752-1770: Hesphasestus Gore
- 1770-1781: Maximillian Crowdy
- 1781-1789: Porteus Knatchbull
- 1789-1798: Unctuous Osbert
- 1798-1811: Artemisia Lufkin - First Witch to become Minister for magic.
- 1811-1819: Grogan Stump
- 1819-1827: Josephina Flint
- 1827-1835: Ottaline Gambol
- 1835-1841: Radolphus Lestrange
- 1841-1849: Hortensia Milliphutt
- 1849-1855: Evangeline Orpington
- 1855-1858: Priscilla Dupont
- 1858-1865: Dugald McPhail
- 1865-1903: Faris "Spout-Hole" Spavin
- 1903-1912: Venusia Crickerly
- 1912-1923: Archer Evermonde
- 1923-1925: Lorcan McLaird
- 1925-1939: Hector Fawley
- 1939-1948: Leonard Spencer-Moon
- 1948-1959: Wilhemina Tuft
- 1959-1962: Ignatius Tuft
- 1962-1968: Nobby Leach
- 1968-1975: Eugenia Jenkins
- 1975-1980: Harold Minchum
- 1980-1990: Millicent Bagnold
- 1990-1996: Cornelius Oswald Fudge
- 1996-1997: Rufus Scrimgeour
- 1997-1998: Pius Thicknesse
- 1998-present Kingsley Shacklebolt
After Artemisia Lufkin, there were many woman who became Ministers of magic and upto now, there were ten woman who governed the wizarding world for some time.
There are always witches who wished for a better society like Queen Maeve, who trained young sorcerers in Ireland prior to the establishment of Hogwarts and whom Rowling have adapted from other stories like Morgana Wikipedia
There are also only-women national Quidditch teams like the Holyhead Harpies, which was found in 1203 (Shows women were always good in Quidditch) whose current captain Gwenog Jones has a frog card for herself.
1968 - present
Captain and Beater of only all-female national Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies. After a game she enjoys relaxing with friends, drinking butterbeer, and listening to The Weird Sisters.
The Wierd Sisters is also a women band which is famous during the 19th Century,
Myron Wagtail, Kirley Duke, Donaghan Tremlett, Heathcote Barbary, Herman Wintringham, Gideon Crumb, Orsino Thruston, Merton Graves were the band members
It seems that there are equal rights for men and women in Wizarding world but it is unclear why the founders have thought boys were less trustworthy than girls.
'Me,' said Ron, who was still rather dishevelled. 'I didn't realise that would happen. It's not fair!' he added to Harry, as the girls headed off for the portrait hole, still giggling madly. 'Hermione's allowed in our dormitory, how come we're not allowed -?'
'Well, it's an old-fashioned rule,' said Hermione, who had just slid neatly on to a rug in front of them and was now getting to her feet, 'but it says in Hogwarts: A History, that the founders thought boys were less trustworthy than girls.
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix chapter 17
The Wizarding World has always have had relatively equal rights for everything besides blood status.
While I cannot find any quote from JKR specifically about sexism, the general theme of her books, is that prejudice is only about blood status, and nothing else.
I mean if we're talking about prejudiced people within the Wizarding World, what they care most about is your blood status.
(PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one)
Looking at the History of the Wizarding World, we can see that they elected their first female Prime Minister back in 1798, less than a hundred years after the position formed.
1798 - 1811
First female Minister for Magic. Established Department of International Magical Co-operation and lobbied hard and successfully to have a Quidditch World Cup tournament held in Britain during her term.
(Pottermore - Ministers for Magic)
For comparison, the Muggle Britain didn't elect a female Minister until nearly two hundred years later, with Margaret Thatcher
Born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher became Britain's Conservative Party leader and in 1979 was elected prime minister, the first woman to hold the position.
The Quidditch world seems to have been slightly less equal with the first female Quidditch referee not happening until at least 40 years later
1829 - 1910
First British witch to referee a Quidditch match
(Famous Wizard Card)
I would rather say - yes. Men and women seem to take equal positions and with (relatively) equal ratios.
- Teachers at Hogwarts - female - 9:
- McGonnagall (Transfiguration)
- Sprout (Herbology)
- Sinistra (Astronomy)
- Grubbly-Plank (Care for Magical Creatures)
- Trelawney (Divination)
- Babbling (Ancient Runes),
- Charity Burbage (Muggle studies)
- Rolanda Hooch (Flying)
- Umbridge (DADA)
- Teachers at Hogwarts - male - 9:
- Snape (Potions / DADA)
- Flitwick (Charms)
- Binns (History of Magic - not sure this counts)
- Dumbledore (Headmaster)
- Hagrid (Care for Magical Creatures)
- Quirrel (DADA)
- Lupin (DADA)
- Lockhart (DADA)
- Alastor Moody (DADA)
Ministry of magic employees - we got some women at high positions:
- Amelia Bones
- Griselda Marchbanks
- Hermione Granger
The Aurors office seems to be short on women - only 2 are known - Tonks and Alice Longbottom against quite a lot of men serving. Seems that law enforcement in the magical world is a career path mainly for men. Still this seems like an exception, not the rule.
Most of the facts hint that witches enjoyed more rights compared to muggle women.
- Hogwarts was founded by 2 men and 2 women. Around the 10th century there were very few women in England who could enjoy equal rights on such an undertaking.
- Girls were taught magic in Hogwarts along with boys. To quote the books: "the founders thought boys were less trustworthy than girls" which implies that girls dormitories were built by the founders. In medieval England girls were unlikely to receive even basic education except for daughters of the very rich and/or royalties.
- There were women taking the post of Headmistress of Hogwarts. Eupraxia Mole was one mentioned on Pottermore in an article about Peeves. Although it is much later (1876) it is still in the ages were very few women took such posts.
- There were women taking the post of Minister of Magic - first one in 1798. Muggle England was (very successfully) ruled by queens with the most prominent ones being Elisabeth I and Victoria. Still, except for royalties, at that time it would have been very unusual that a women takes a high post in the government.
This is not an answer, but:
It would very much stand to reason that even in ancient times, witches had much more equality with wizards than non-magical women had with non-magical men.
The reason is the simple fact that in ancient times, the non-magical world was ruled by brute force based on physical strength, which men have much more of than women, whereas the magical world is ruled by magic, which witches and wizards have to the same degree.
In any given circumstance where wizards tended more to be in charge, it would probably be due to non-magical attitudes bleeding into magical society.