Women's Rights Essays

Submitted By Carrington12
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Pages: 7

Inequality with Women in Different Generations
Anderson, Autumn
October 31, 2012 Inequality with Women in Different Generations From the Indian era to the colonial days; women have been through many types of social standings against men. Men were assumed as the superiors over women; however, different generations proved to have different standings on how women should be treated. The Indians treated women with respect, while the Jamestown settlers treated their women as sex slaves. Women played a vital role in the lives of men, and they were vaguely credited for. Women had a vital role in the social and economic part of their lives. In the Indian society aunt’s uncles, grandmother’s grandfather’s, all resided in the same household; this led to the respect of women in the Indian tribes (Zinn 1). In the Zuni tribe, for example, the men came to live with the women and her family; she had equal rights to what was produced. A woman was secure in the Zuni tribe because she lived with her family, and if she wanted to divorce a man, she could, and the property would still be hers (Zinn 1). Plain Indians were another prime example of how women were treated. Women were healers, herbalists, and even holy people (Zinn 1). “When bands lost their male leaders, women would become chieftains. (Zinn 1).” Women were not treated equally with men in the Indian tribe, but they were treated with respect, and the society gave them an important place (Zinn 2). When white settlers came over to the New Land, off of the Mayflower, they brought along with them the poor treatment of women, and slaves. To them women were good for childbearing, sex, and companionship (Zinn 2). Many women, who came in the early years, were indentured servants- slaves who had an end of service. The authors of American Working Women (Baxandall, Gordon, and Reverby) describe the situation:
They were poorly paid and often treated rudely and harshly, deprived of good food and privacy. Of course these terrible conditions provoked resistance. Living in separate families without match contact with others in their position, indentured servants had one primary path of resistance open to them: passive resistance, trying to do as little work as possible and to create difficulties for their masters and mistresses. Of course the masters and mistresses did not interpret it that way, but saw the difficult behavior of their servants as sullenness, laziness, malevolence, and stupidity. (Zinn 2) Socially a woman, who was not married, did not have an easy life either. Humiliation was demeaning, and a man knew how to do this well. A woman who had a child out of wedlock was a criminal. However, women were expected to give men the sexual urge; they were also expected to withstand the sexual intercourse (Zinn 4). Women in this time frame who had a child outside of wedlock was to be taken to court and punished for her actions, yet she was supposed to be appealing to the man’s eye? That is not equality for women, especially when the male gets away with a bastard child. In Deputy Husbands Laurel Thatcher Ulrich describes the lives of women throughout the nineteenth century:
Mary Beth Norton has carefully studied the claims of 468 loyalist’s women who were refugees in Great Britain after the American Revolution. Only forty-three of these women mentioned earning money on their own or even assisting directly in their husbands’ business thrust upon them. (Ulrich 1)
Family government in the traditional world consisted of the husband; the husband was responsible to represent the family in the outside world (Ulrich 2). Second, the husband’s decisions should also incorporate his wife’s opinion (Ulrich 2). Third, if a husband were to pass on, or if he was away on business, the wife would step in and pursue the role of the man-deputy husbands. Women could never inherit the belongings of a man if they had a son, the son would inherit the belongings the