Throughout history, every generation has experienced the impact of a minority group that vocally advocates for change in the society. For instance, during the Revolutionary War that occurred between 1765 and 1763 women became the vocal group that initiated change in the traditional roles. In the 19th century, both men and women in America, as well as Europe, carried the responsibility of filling different spheres in the society. On the one hand, men lived a public life which involved working in factories or interacting with male individuals of a similar stature in meetings and bars. On the other hand, womens roles included carrying out chores such as cleaning, cooking, rearing children and maintain the family. Their free time activities included doing laundry or sowing socks and other garments (Berkin 8). However, as will be portrayed in this paper, womens lives changed during the Revolutionary War due to factors such as opportunities of demonstrating their capability in assuming responsibilities initially regarded as male tasks.
According to Carol Berkin in her book, Revolutionary Mothers, the conflict with England significantly contributed towards some women assuming male-dominated responsibilities. For instance, while men left their families and jobs to participate in the fight for their independence, women were left to face the challenges that emerged. Nevertheless, in their attempts to alleviate the situation, most women took over mens responsibilities and started working in the factories as well as the farms (Berkin 21). They also took charge of roles such as defending their homes, gathering intelligence for the patriotic soldiers and serving as well as cooking for the continental army. Furthermore, some women such as Mary Ludwig Hays (Molly Pitcher) volunteered as nurses to assist the wounded while others joined the army on the battlefields.
The traditional gender roles within the society restricted women from participating in activities that were considered as mens. However, as the war unfolded, women left to defend their homes became subjects to the consequences unveiled. They were threatened with violence, raped and killed by the enemy troops. These factors initiated a revolution among women to resist torture and support their husbands, fathers, and sons in fighting for independence. They also brought about significant changes in the lives of women as they actively became part of the war through various activities. According to Berkin, after suffering various counts of torture and torment, women initiated patriotic activities such as boycotting the use or purchase of British products. For instance, they boycotted buying tea from British and replaced it with American products (Berkin 13). These activities contributed to the change in womens lives and roles in the society and brought about a revolution in the American history.
Berkin, Carol. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence. Vintage Books, 2006.