Answer to Question #165858 in History for Charity

Question #165858

What was the role of women in Reconstruction

Expert's answer

The Reconstruction Era was the period of reform after the Civil War in America, which was marked by efforts to address the inequities of slavery and racism as well as reintegration of the Confederate States. During this reform, women faced new circumstances that necessitated new roles for them which went beyond gender norms and class hierarchies. Women in the United States presided over their farms and became family heads in their households since their men were involved in war. After the Civil War, there was a dramatic increase in the need for education among women and resultantly an increase in the number of women in paid employment. This new role was backed by laws passed by many states granting women right to keep wages earned from working in non-domestic occupations. Black women played an important role during this period by participating in the efforts to reunite with their families separated during slavery, pursuing educational opportunities, establishing businesses to support their families and building strong family and community networks. Women also took an active political role during the Reconstruction. They began to advocate for their rights, especially women’s suffrage. Both Black and White women activists pushed for voting rights and conscientiously supported political groups that represented their interests. Black female workers formed labor groups which pushed local governments to safeguard their rights. The era was marked by the formation of organizations such as the National Woman Suffrage Association and American Equal Rights Association, characterized by political activism and rights advocacy. 

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