The status of women in colonial North America has been well studied and describe d and can be briefly summarized. Throughout the colonial period there was a mark ed shortage of women, which varied with the regions and was always greatest in t he frontier areas. This favorable ratio enhanced women’s status and position and allowed them to pursue different careers. The Puritans, the religious sect that dominated the early British colonies in North America, regarded idleness as a s in, and believed that life in an underdeveloped country made it absolutely neces sary that each member of the community perform an economic function. Thus work f or women, married or single, was not only approved, it was regarded as a civic d uty. Puritan town councils expected widows and unattached women to be selfsupp orting and for a long time provided needy spinsters with parcels of land. There was no social sanction against married women working; on the contrary, wives wer e expected to help their husbands in their trade and won social approval for doi ng extra work in or out of the home. Needy children, girls as well as boys, were indentured or apprenticed and were expected to work for their keep.
The vast majority of women worked within their homes, where their labor produced most articles needed for the family. The entire colonial production of cloth an d clothing and partially that of shoes was in the hands of women. In addition to these occupations, women were found in many different kinds of employment. They were butchers, silversmiths, gunsmiths, and upholsterers. They ran mills, plant ations, tanyards, shipyards, and every kind of shop, tavern, and boardinghouse. They were gatekeepers, jail keepers, sextons, journalists, printers, apothecarie s, midwives, nurses, and teachers.
1 What does the passage mainly discuss?
A. Colonial marriages.
B. The Puritan religion.
C. Colonial women’s employment.
D. Education in the colonies.
2. According to the passage, where in colonial North America were there the fewest women?
A. Puritan communities.
C. Frontier settlements.
D. Capital cities.
3. It can be inferred from the passage that the Puritans were ___ ___.
A. uneducatedB. hardworking
C. generousD. wealthy
4. According to the passage, Puritans believed that an unmarried adult w oman should be ______.
A. financially responsible for herself
B. returned to England
C. supported by her family
D. trained to be a nurse
5. According to the passage, what did the Puritans expect from married w omen?
A. They should adopt needy children.
B. They should assist in their husbands’ trade or business.
C. They should work only within their own homes.
D. They should be apprenticed.