Women's Status in Colonial Society

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The Status of Women in Colonial Society

For many of the settlers coming to America they, obviously, had formed their own views and beliefs on the world, including the thought on the way of life and what it was intended to be. For most colonists in America they already shared a common opinion about women being inferior. However, the value of women has a slight increase due to scarceness. The status of women in the colonies, the roles women had taken with the religion aspect, and the required daily chores known as “women’s work” would eventually require a second look into the their contributions. Once many colonists became established and figured out the ways to live and survive in this New World also came forth many formed opinions on what the purpose of women would be in the colonies. John Winthrop insisted that a woman’s role was solely to adhere to her husband, obey his authority and find contentment within this. One Minister even stressed, “the woman is a weak creature not endowed with like strength and constancy of mind.” (Tindall and Shi 2010, 113) Due to social custom and legal codes women had little to no rights. The few exceptions for women to have any type of right or gain respect were if and only, it seemed, family circumstances required a woman to continue on the family reputation, business, or social standing. An example would be Elizabeth Lucas Pinckney (Tindall and Shi 2010, 114) who was highly educated and left to take care of her family while her father was absent. This led her to be known as Americas most enterprising horticulturist. Religion in the colonial era still had similar views about women within the Puritan denomination. As for Puritans they considered women to be “weak vessels” and also cited biblical passages that god required “virtuous” women to submit to male authority and remain silent in congregational matters. (Tindall and Shi 2010, 115) Unlike Quakers, who during this time considered women to be equal to men and...
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