Appalachian Women: We Can Be The Spark

I started this blog in order to raise awareness regarding abuse in Appalachian Culture, hoping to outline how women and children in these areas suffer while highlighting their strength, gaining in-depth views on the abuse cycle, and touching on how addiction plays a role.

Women have a lengthy history of being abused, traumatized, used, and generally treated as disposable pawns in US history. Unfortunately many women today do not realize the great strides that have been taken by women, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in order to gain a minuscule amount of respect by our male counterparts and society as a whole. We seem to leave the significance of women out of our history lessons and common discussion, as if dismissing the historical exploitation and injustices will somehow make everything all better. If women forget and younger generations are not informed about our tremendous strides, the flame of women’s worth – that was not long ago a torch in the darkness leading the way from the depths of hell- will become but a mere smoldering wick struggling to be sparked.

Appalachian norms are enforced by a variety of systems that drive suppression and oppression, particularly norms regarding poverty, education, cultural practices and ideals towards women, and general lifestyle.

Let’s touch base on some of the history of women: 

1848-Elizabeth C. Stanton had tea with some fellow female peers and sparked a revolution, even after the Revolutionary War, with the Declaration of Sentiments. You would have thought that 70 years after the war that women would at least matter or have been respected as human beings, but alas they were not.

Women were still forced to be slaves to their husbands and male counterparts and were given no other option but to be entirely dependent on males- this does not just include their husbands

If a woman was married she was legally deceased in the eyes of the law

Women were still not allowed to vote

Women were forced to be submissive to rules/laws, those same rules/laws that they themselves were not allowed to have any opinion of, input towards, or legal voice for

Married women did not have any property rights

Men were given favor in regards to divorce and child custody, with women having NO rights

Men had legal power over their wives to the extent that they were permitted to beat them as they pleased, have them imprisoned, and or dump them off at an asylum with no actual mental or physical health issues present

Women had to pay higher taxes

The majority of jobs/occupations were closed to women, as in they were not allowed to work or practice and the jobs that they were permitted to have they were only paid a mere fraction of what the men were for the same work

Women were not permitted to become a professional in the area of medicine or law

Women did not have access to education and colleges/universities did not accept females as students

The church was also a place that women had extremely little say or participation permitted

Surprised yet?! Stay updated and keep checking back for future posts that spotlight on some West Virginia women and issues in history!





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