Today I want to write about women of the past who are unnamed and often unsung heroes of Canadian history. They with amazing ingenuity and innovation and with persistence and grace worked and sacrificed to improve their way of life together as women helping each other.
I want to honour them as they pushed beyond their own strength with unmitigated opposition, to pursue their goals for equality. In the earlier culture they were very restricted and limited as we have never known in our day.
Women were very restricted to the home, dependent on husbands and had no voice, especially those without inheritance.They still sought to improve their lot through trading and doing creative things which improved their way of life and brought extra income. Women joined in community and organized themselves in mutual support.Women were assigned the social status and identity of their husbands and widows had a much lower social status and had no right to own property alone and so were dependent on others and so tended to remarry rather quickly. Arranged marriages were common and made a difference to comfort and acceptance in society.In the 17th and 18th centuries entering convent life was an alternative to marriage and women had exposure to education and were trained to teach school or become midwives. The convents were also supportive of women having property struggles and were financially helping women seeking justice.Nevertheless in society women were considered secondary to men.
Laws were formed to meet the requirements of the social environment and laws to protect women were very slow in coming. The injustices regarding inheritance and property rights in 18th and 19th centuries were challenged by a growing number of women’s organizations. Female writers were active in developing arguments and public demand for change in dower laws.As we know success eventually came and inheritance laws were changed in the 1930″s
Women through opposition and hardship fought for justice and for laws to be changed for which we must be grateful.The war is not fully over although many laws have been changed our lives as women are still subject to control. Believe it or not women may still not receive inheritances due, simply because they are women in the family. Women may be paid less than a man and control and abuse exist. They are still victims and marginalized against greater forces that keep them silenced. These are not just social issues but have a deep spiritual root which manifests as mysogony and control. God’s perspective on women needs to be resurrected. Not that all was perfect then, but men and women together need to press on for freedom from negative spiritual roots This will not only bring marital harmony but societal healing. A nation is only as strong as harmony of its families together.