Gender Inequality In A Midwife's Tale

679 Words3 Pages

In her book, ‘A Midwife’s Tale’, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explores the social position of women in society and the subsequent change in their roles in early American society by studying the life of Martha Ballard. In her book, she questions the impact that the Revolutionary War and the independence of the United States of America had on the lives of American women like Martha Ballard. Martha’s apathy toward politics, her silence of gender inequality of that time and her continuous focus on her daily routine to earn for her family demonstrate that Martha Ballard’s identity of being a colonial goodwife remained unchanged economically, politically and socially by the Revolution and the decades that followed. From 1785 to 1812, Martha Ballard tirelessly …show more content…

In her diary, Martha never directly expresses any opinion about the social hierarchy of the society, but she does express her frustration about male doctors complicating her job as a healer (248). In Martha’s Maine, the powerful men were almost above the law and the trial of Mrs. Foster’s rape shows how hard it was for women to take any action against their abusers. In that men dominated society, as a midwife, Martha’s testimony about the paternity of a child was important as it was common practice to ask “unwed mothers to name the father of their child during pregnancy” (149). It was based on an old English law as were many other laws in early America. Despite being a citizen of the USA, Martha were not able to vote, serve in jury or acquire property for herself. During her life, these restrictions on a women rights remain unchanged. Even though the Revolution and the subsequent years brought changes the identity, the legal system, the economic system for American men, for American women like Martha Ballard, these changes are almost non-existent. While American Revolution created new liberty and protection for many, many others were left behind and it would take centuries before the promise of life, liberty and happiness would come to all Americans rather than the privileged

Open Document