A Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is a collection of stories about women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana.
Did Women Homesteaders at the turn of the 20th century have more freedom than today’s working women?
The longing for a free life brought courageous women homesteaders to the Western lands. For single women in the United States, the Homestead Act signed by Abe Lincoln offered fantastic opportunities. Not so for the women in Canada who wanted to be independent. However, even some Canadian women took advantage of America’s land offer.
Today obtaining a land grant would be impossible. Many a single working mother has to struggle just to meet the monthly rent let alone imagine owning a home. The hard-fought struggles of the early settler women may seem ancient, an archaic history that we have successfully moved beyond. But is that true? Yes, in some ways. At least for the moment, women have access to contraceptive methods and prescriptions. They don’t go to jail for sending birth control materials through the US Mail. At least for now.
I wonder if homestead women were paid equal value for the crops they produced. Today, a woman’s work is often paid less than their male counterparts. Yet, a woman pays more for shoes and clothing than a man. Hmm. Maybe women would benefit from dressing as men!!
In today’s society, women’s fight for fair treatment continues. Unlike some of our European counterparts who are working women that can have up to a year off with pay after the birth of each child. Fathers are released from work to have time with their newborns. How many weeks do American women get after a child is born? None!
Has there been progress for the women of today? History tells us the Homestead Act was a watershed for women who had the right to claim land in their own name.
A Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is my collection of stories of women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana.