Women and Gender in Colonial North America Essay

Women and Gender in Colonial North America Essay

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During the colonial period in North America, women had varied experiences, which were instigated by differences in colonial styles. The population of North America during the period mostly comprised British settlers who originated from England and Wales. The remaining portion of the population was constituted by people from African and Asian origins. Some groups of individuals settled in New England, while other families moved to the Southern Colonies. In the mid 1660s, most immigrants came to the Colonial North America as indentured servants and slaves. There were more food supplies in the regions than most parts of the globe, including Europe. However, the life in the Colonial North America had its own challenges, pushing people to adjust to fit in. Women were the most hit by the challenges. The challenges posed by colonial settlements and restrictions in colonial North America in the 17th century forced women, especially African-Americans, to adapt to new gender roles to fit in the colonial situation.
The experiences that women underwent in colonial North America varied from one colony to the other. However, there were occurrences that were common in almost all the colonies. Women, especially of African-American heritage, engaged in economic activities, which consisted of mostly slavery oriented farming. These women worked alongside men in farms where sugarcane was grown. The women were not only readily available, but also came at a cheaper cost than their male counterparts. They mostly ended working in farms since they could not fit in skilled jobs such as blacksmithing and carpentry, which were left to male slaves (Irwin & Brooks, 2004). The trend continued uninterrupted until female slaves outnumbered their male counterp...

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...ced to engage in economic activities as slaves. They were expected to work alongside men and even sometimes take up tiresome tasks, which were initially meant for their male counterparts. The women worked without pay yet they were also expected to carry out domestic roles just like normal housewives like being good, obedient, and loyal to their husbands, besides doing their best to bring up responsible children.

Works Cited

Irwin, M., & Brooks, J. (2004). Women and gender in the America West. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Middleton, R., & Lombard, A. (2011). Colonial America: A history to 1763. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell.
Ray, B. (2010). A further account of the trials of the New-England witches sent in a letter from thence, to a gentleman in London. Retrieved on 27 Jan. 2013, from http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/letters/lawsons_london_letter.html

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