In this second unit you’ve read about Indian women, enslaved women, and Euro-colonial women in New England. Your task in this assignment is to explore the intersection of women’s economic contributions/status and gender roles using what you’ve learned from the readings (and lecture, if applicable.
Using of the readings from Unit II: Order & Disorder in Colonial America, discuss the connections between women’s productive labor, material contributions, or economic status and gender roles. In other words, how does “women’s work” or women’s economic position in the community in these times/places affect their daily lives and lived experiences? Does their productive labor or economic status lead to autonomy and control over their daily lives (and bodies?) or are they marginalized and therefore vulnerable?
In formulating your response you may want to consider the following:
- What types of tasks women performed or their daily responsibilities
- Was work segregated by sex or was it interchangeable?How highly the community valued the women’s labor (how essential to survival was their work?);
- Did women have control over property, the household economy, or material goods?
- Could/did women inherit or bring suits in court over property?