The Role of Women in Colonial America

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THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN COLONIAL AMERICA POSITION OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY The position of women, who had an almost completely dependent status under English common law, improved rapidly in English America. Despite the prevailing doctrine, both civil and religious, that women were inferior to men and subject to their authority, women were of great practical value in the New World and their status was considerably above that of those in the Old World. Historians …

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…faster. Daughters were less longed for than sons, perhaps because obstetricians assured that mothers who were carrying boys enjoyed fair complexions, red nipples and white milk. While girls gave them "a pale heavy, and swarthy countenance, a melancholic eye", black nipples and watery bluish milk. At birth, Puritan daughters, in particular, often received names which providentially reminded them of the limitations of their feminine destiny: Silence, Fear, Patience, Prudence, Mindwell, Comfort, Hopestill, and Be Fruitful.