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Freedom of gender has been making a strong
impact on any community. It is based on the concept of human freedom, which is
a basic human right. It affects people in their homes, schools, and workplaces,
and its bigger effects are in our social development. Women’s roles were
different depending on the times. Today, women prefer to have their own career
equal rights with men instead of being satisfied with the role of homemakers. A
look back at history from the 1600s through the 1860s shows that women’s rights
movements made the economic, political, and social status of women equal
opportunities to that of men, which was the positive effects of the changing
role of women.

In the 1600s and the 1700s
woman had no idea of their rights. They were not allowed to attend schools, or
they learned only a minimal education if they were born into wealthy families.
If not, they expected to get
married, have children, running a household, and work often alongside their
husbands. North America’s First Peoples were Indians. The role of the native Indian women was equally important to that of the
men and they had powers. In general, American Indian men were
liable to battle, hunt and interact with outsiders, so they had more public
roles. Native American women’s work
varied to the environment in which they lived but they usually owned the
family’s housing and household goods. Medicine
women were also responsible for gathering herbs, preparing medicines and
nursing the sick. They did all the manual labor. Their strength was also
necessary to the survival of the tribes. Because the women had a voice,
they held important economic, social, and political power. For example, in many
North American communities all practiced through women of matrilineal descent.
The women selected men to serve as their chiefs, and they failure chiefs if
they fail to satisfy. “Seventeenth-century colonists certainly found native
women attractive, but a combination of factors-the general perception of
Indians as loose and immoral, fear of the unfamiliar, and the dark specter of
cultural contamination.”1
Other women worked as slaves or servants. To
cut down costs on the tobacco farms, the initiation of slavery in America
expanded. African female slaves were soon to be entered the colonial society. The slaves had no rights at all. Slaves, both men
and women, were bought and sold as cheap labors to become profitable. They
worked for up to eighteen hours every day with no days off during the
year. The African women were
attributed not only economic responsibilities, but also often sexual duties and
pregnancy were of primary importance to the wealthy and white men were
attracted by African womanhood. Over the slave trade, black women were observed
as immoral and promiscuous through the sexually repressed European perspective.
black women did not have the modesty of their impaired moral nature that
increased sex force. Another view of black women was established by the
religion. These opponents of slavery showed the black women as an innocent
victim of white male appetency. Female slaves were basically brought to the colonies as an investment to
sugar and tobacco plantation owners. They were physically compelled to work like the men in the
fields, even if they were pregnant, and had to reproduce more slaves, which
meant their children became the property of
their owners. They were not allowed to marry with other slaves
professedly because marriage between slaves was not admitted by the colonies. “Women’s roles as wives and
mothers surely were among the most vital in this project; but beyond that, the
contributions African women made to the communities of American slavery far
exceeded the reproductive roles with which those women are generally
associated.”2. In the slave
areas, the colonial women basically lived in crude wooden cabins consisting of
one or two rooms with a dirt floor. Female slaves that didn’t farm the
land next to their male counterparts were in the homes with the gentry’s class
women. They cleaned the houses, cared for the children, cooked and assisted in
any way necessary. Carrying water, doing the laundry and routine chores such as
making beds was expected and emptying chamber pots day to day. They also
focused on the signs and call of their masters and master’s wives all day. The
slave women that worked in the fields during the day also had to provide dinner
for their families when they come home. In contrast to African and
Indian women, European women came
as indentured servants who required to serve for certain years in exchange for
their benefits such as food, clothing, or passage to the colonies. Their roles
were affected by the formation of slavery. Women who couldn’t afford slave
help, were often put back into household duties. During the colonial
period in America, European women remained the legal protections. European
women were managed by colonial laws, so the women could protect their legal
rights. They did traditional roles including weaving
clothing, preparing and serving the food, and raising and educating their
children. They also worked in the fields cropping the land and farming. “Colonial
governments tried to impose their version of marital and sexual propriety upon
the population, passing laws that required public marriage and denouncing any
other form of sexual relationship.”3
For instance, when they were abused their indentured servant women violated,
sexually or physically, they had a right to complain at the local court.
However, in some control of patriarchal models, they could not travel or marry
during the contract, or they would be incriminated. “English women who
conceived children by Indian or African men introduced nonwhite blood into
English families and quite possibly their lines of inheritance.” 4
Indeed, the statutes passed across North America women might be unfair to gain
their freedom.

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The events happened in the
1800s contributed to the development of more independence on women. There were
different equal opportunities in education and the workplace, or women’s
suffrage. Between 1793 and 1860, the market revolution had more of
opportunities for women. The
greatest impact of the revolution on women was that they
had a choice to work outside. Many factories began to produce things women had
previously done at home, such as weaving and spinning. In 1848, women’s movement officially started with the Seneca
Falls Convention. “On August 2, 1848, the meeting
began… The women’s rights movement in America had officially begun.”5 In 1852, Susan B. Anthony joined the movement, and she spent
her life to women’s suffrage when the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution guaranteed women’s right to vote in 1920.

In the past, women’s rights
were limited and controlled by their husbands. Women’s roles have changed and
are making great impacts in our society because of more women working outside
and more women in college. They are presently playing an important role in many
areas such as business. They are educating themselves to be successful in life.
For example, young women have attained power in management positions as the
same number of young men. However, there is still a major barrier when they get
married and then taking long breaks to raise their children. Usually, women
have two full-time jobs at work and at home. More than men, they are still
responsible for cooking, grocery shopping and all the other domestic duties as
the keepers of the house although men try to share the households with their

The gaps of gender caused many important
events and developments throughout the history of America. Today, women’s
rights are becoming better, but they still continue to struggle for their
rights to be more independence and to make a fair world for everyone. Women are trying to avoid
many obstacles that they face on their way to be successful. They need to prove
their abilities in all areas much harder than men do. Women are stepping up to
take on new responsibilities they deserve by joining public office, serving in
Government, or running their own business. Many families made women’s roles as
the same as men when it comes to housework, childcare, and jobs. Only when all
women and girls have their rights of economic, political, and social life, and
it will exit true equality.

1 Richard, Godbeer. Sexual Revolution in Early America
(Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 158.

2 Smallwood, Stephanie. Saltwater
Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Massachusetts:
Harvard University Press, 2008), 198.

3 Richard, Godbeer. Sexual Revolution in Early America
(Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 7.

4 Ibid., 6.

5 Frost-Knappman, Elizabeth & Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn. Women’s Suffrage in America, Updated Edition
(New York: Facts On File, 2005), 74.

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