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What was the role of women in Colonial America? Essay sample

Gender roles were crucial in colonial America as nowhere else. A family was a nuclear unit that assured the success of colonialists in the new land. The government, church, and community all worked for the good of families, and people were expected to adjust to strict gender roles existing in the colonial society. Males were expected to give orders, prescribe duties, perform justice, and distribute rewards within their family at the very least. They owned property, maintained the family, and participated in government. The role of a colonial American woman was very different than that of a man. Women were supposed to please their husbands and perform all work around the house (if the family did not own any slaves). In wealthy households, women coordinated the activities of slaves and watched that everything was in order around the house. They encouraged moral development of their children, went to church, and ingrained spiritual values in a family. Education was a shared duty of men and women, men typically teaching boys literacy and all the skills they needed in life. Girls learned their duties from mothers. And most important, a woman in a colonial society was meant to be subordinate to her man. Upon marrying, some property of her father transferred to her husband. If wealthy women had their autonomy at least in coordinating servants, women of the poor class worked hard around the house all days. They had no time to think about whether they shall have the right of voice in the government or get any work outside the house. Slave women had the toughest times in colonial America. In fact, all slaves had no rights but unlike men, women were also expected to raise their children for more slaves.