Colonial Women In The 17th Century Essay

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Colonial women of the 17th century played vital roles in the development of the colonies, despite predetermined limits placed on them. Life for women in this time period was harsh, but their low numbers made them more valued than women in Europe. Religious and economic roles for women were rare. Women who did not fit within the traditional roles expected of them were accessed of being witches. The roles and expectations of women were based on the perception that women were inferior to men. Frist, there were numerous tasks and roles for women in the 17th century. Women were to obey and serve their husbands which included tending to their children, maintaining the household, and other chores around the house. Governor John Winthrop stated, “A ‘true wife’ would find contentment only in subjection to her husband’s authority.” (George Brown Tindall, 110) The modal woman at this time was one who would silently do as she was told by her husband. However, there were other roles for women. “In the towns, women commonly served as tavern hostesses and shopkeepers and occasionally also worked as doctors, printers, upholsterers, painters, silversmiths, tanners, and shipwrights.” (George Brown Tindall, 113) In addition,…show more content…
It was common for men to outnumber women, which is what caused these laws to be put into place. “Shortage of women made them more valued than in Europe, and the Puritan emphasis on well-ordered family life led to laws protecting wives from physical abuse and allowing for divorce.” (George Brown Tindall, 113) Also colonial laws were formed to allow wives more control over property that they contributed or inherited after the death of their husbands. (George Brown Tindall, 113) Nevertheless, even with these slight improvements men were still seen as being superior to women. Which also influenced women’s roles in
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