Women In America

Submitted By darinmfritz1
Words: 841
Pages: 4

1. All women were burdened with ideas carried over from England with the colonists, influenced by Christian teachings. Women saw and heard these ideas thinking this is what they need to follow. The conditions under which white settlers came to America created various situations for women. Where the first settlements consisted almost entirely of men, women were imported as sex slaves, child bearers, and companions. Since the majority of people were men, they felt superior to women and took control of that idea. Women didn’t know any better and would listen to the men. Unfortunately some were taken advantage of and became sex slaves while others just became known as a man’s companion. It seems that the American economy, for the most part, centered on the rural household, whether large estate or individual farm. The household was a place of production and consumption, and woman occupied a central role in this economy, working generally in or near the house at the fire, with her needle or spinning wheel, and her broom. The woman's job was to keep the home cheerful, maintain religion, be the nurse, be the cook, be the cleaner, be the seamstress, and be the flower arranger. A woman shouldn't read excessively, and certain books should be avoided because she might learn too much. She worked outside too, at the well, in the kitchen and herb gardens, and often in the poultry yard. Her role was functional and necessary to the economy's functioning, just as was her husband's role in the field, or in a craft, or at a mercantile occupation. In the rural domestic economy, although a general division of labor existed on a sexual basis, women engaged in many trades, acted as midwives and prescribed medicine, even worked in the fields when emergencies developed. It seemed there was a complex movement in different directions. Now, women were taking part in the industrial life, while at the same time there was pressure for women to stay home where they were more easily controlled. It became important to develop a set of ideas, taught in church, in school, and in the family, to keep women in their place even as that place became more and more unsettled. As the economy developed, men dominated as mechanics and tradesmen, and males were becoming more known as aggressive. And women, now moving into the work fields and engaging in the industrial life, were being labeled as too passive.

2. Many variations existed from culture to culture, and within a given society a woman’s role depended to some extent on her class. Nowhere, however, were women fully equal to men with regard to property rights, citizenship, marriage, criminal law, opportunities for work and ways of life, and other social institutions. Christianity brought certain changes for women. Some Christian societies adopted marriage laws that required a woman’s consent and gave women limited rights to own property. Christian thinkers called for men as well as women to be faithful in marriage. At the same time, however, religious study reinforced the belief that women are inferior to men. During the 1800s, Western economies began a gradual shift from agriculture to industry. Many girls and women began to work in factories, contributing