What Were The Roles Of Women In The 17th Century

809 Words 4 Pages
en) At the start of the new world, the ratio of men to women was three to one. Therefore the population was, largely dominated by males for the first years. However, women in the 17th Century were considered completely inferior to men in every possible way. The social customs and legal codes of women ensured that they were unable to vote, preach, hold office, attend public schools or colleges, bring lawsuits, make contracts or own property (Shi &Tindall, 2013, P. 111). Women of the 17th century, also had extremely restricted roles within their religion. Typical work duties of women during this time period involved mundane activities around the house, garden, and yard. The gender roles for women was very unbalanced and unfair during the colonial …show more content…
The duties of a farm women included preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, feed and water livestock, tend to the garden, and care for children (Shi &Tindall, 2013, P. 112). These were duties of most 17th century women, but the scarcity of labor in the colonies gave birth to common town jobs like tavern hostesses, shop keepers, and occasionally work as doctors, printers, upholsterers, painters’, silversmiths, tanners, and shipwrights. One of the oldest trades and most lucrative among colonial women was prostitution. Local authorities greatly frowned upon this activity. Anyone participating in prostitution was punished. Some punishments included beatings that left hideous marks. Over time the colonial environment did generate minimal improvements in the rights of women. Several improvements took place, some of which included laws that protected wives from physical abuse and allowing for divorce (Shi &Tindall, 2013, P. 113). Even with these improvements the superior aspect of men still …show more content…
No denomination allowed women to be ordained as ministers. Quakers were the only group that allowed women to hold positions in church offices and preach in public. Puritans cited biblical passages claiming that God required virtuous women to submit to male authority and remain silent in congregational matters. Women that challenged ministerial authority were usually prosecuted and punished. Magisterial Boston minister Cotton Mather, argued that the pain associated with childbirth, which had long been interpreted as the penalty women paid for Eve’s sinfulness, was in part what drove women “ more frequently, and the more fervently” to commit their lives to Christ. This was Minister Mather’s way of saying, women was not the weaker sex (Shi &Tindall, 2013, P.

Related Documents