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Topics: Gender role, Native Americans in the United States, Pre-Columbian Pages: 9 (2179 words) Published: April 27, 2014


Examine the changes in the roles of women from pre-Columbian time to the present and Show how these have impacted on the development of Trinidad and Tobago? Ronnie Boodram- 00045144
College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago.

The roles of women have changed drastically since the pre-Columbian times, where now in Trinidad and Tobago women have made a significant contribution in the country’s development. Pre-Columbian refers to the time periods in the history of the Americas before any European influence. In our present society, women have many more opportunities and challenges compared to those women in the pre-Columbian times. During the pre-Columbian era, women’s role in society has differed from province to province as well as culture to culture. Some of the native tribes that existed during the pre- Columbian time illustrated the roles of women such as: Mayan, Aztec, Inca and Native American. In the Mayan society, men were the sole bread-winner in the family. Nonetheless, women focus their attention on household duties such as cooking, weaving and looking after the family needs. Women also tended to animals whereby they ensured that there were enough deer for the men to kill. Moreover, Mayan women made religion an important aspect in their everyday lives as well as they became a part of politics. In the Aztec’s civilization, women were seen as inferior to men. It is for this reason that women were deprived of their opportunity to be a part of government and religious interest. Their basic function was domestic duties similar to the roles of the Mayan women. Although men were the ones who usually worked, women were also afforded the opportunity to enter into the work life. Some the jobs that they partake in comprised of healers, merchants, scribes and midwives. When it comes to the Inca society, the women’s major duty was to bear children and take care of them. In addition, Inca women have similar household responsibilities to those of the Mayan and Aztec women. They played minor roles in the government aspect where they weave clothing for the government stores. Apart from the standard duties they had, the Inca women assisted the men in cultivating the crops. The Native American society was extremely diverse from the other societies. Native American women were held in high esteem and were treated as equal to men. Native Americans believed that women, just like the men, played vital roles in maintaining their society. Some duties that they performed were focusing their attention on their family needs, religious aspects, gaining greater education about agriculture together with fabricating useful crafts. Given the fact that Native American women were considered to be equal to men, they had the freedom to participate in politics. Unlike the women from the other society, Native American women could have expressed their opinion and given their votes, sometimes even changed the faith of several prisoners who were declared to be executed. (Oh, 2008)

All in all, in the pre-Columbian times women played incredibly significant roles, from domestic situations to politics. The roles that were common to all four societies were that they took care of their children, prepared meals for their family, and even wove textiles. The pre-Columbian times varies with regions. Meaning that there was different cultures present. Some women maintained jobs in the markets and even religious and political areas of work. However, some women was not as fortunate to have these kinds of positions, instead they held roles of object, slave trade good, and even subject of brutality. Native American women originally belonged to a culture which gave them high opinion, influence and fairness. Men and women always had different responsibilities but there was not any value of one over the other in most of the societies in the pre-Columbian times. Women’s basic roles in all societies in the...

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